Threshold foraging behavior of baleen whales

Marine Ecology Progress Series
By:  and 



We conducted hydroacoustic surveys for capelin Mallotus villosus in Witless Bay, Newfoundland, Canada, on 61 days during the summers of 1983 to 1985. On 32 of those days in whlch capelin surveys were conducted, we observed a total of 129 baleen whales - Including 93 humpback Megaptera novaeangliae, 31 minke Balaenoptera acutorostrata and 5 fin whales B. phvsalus. Although a few whales were observed when capelin schools were scarce, the majority (96%) of whales were observed when mean daily capelin densities exceeded 5 schools per linear km surveyed (range of means over 3 yr: 0.0 to 14.0 schools km-1). Plots of daily whale abundance (no. h-1 surveyed) vs daily capelin school density (mean no. schools km-1 surveyed) in each summer revealed that baleen whales have a threshold foraging response to capelin density. Thresholds were estimated using a simple itterative step-function model. Foraging thresholds of baleen whales (7.3, 5.0, and 5.8 schools km-1) varied between years in relation to the overall abundance of capelin schools in the study area during summer (means of 7.2, 3.3, and 5.3 schools km-1, respectively).

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Threshold foraging behavior of baleen whales
Series title Marine Ecology Progress Series
Edition 205
Volume 84
Year Published 1992
Language English
Publisher Inter-Research Science Center
Contributing office(s) Alaska Science Center
Description 6 p.
First page 210
Country Canada
State Newfoundland
Other Geospatial Witless Bay
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