Inter-Research > MEPS > v654 > feature  
Marine Ecology Progress Series

via Mailchimp
Mesoplodon densirostris, an elusive, deep-diving beaked whale, relies on newly described aggregations of squid in the deep sea to be successful. Photo: Bahamas Marine Mammal Organisation

Benoit-Bird KJ, Southall BL, Moline MA, Claridge DE, Dunn CA, Dolan KA, Moretti DJ


Critical threshold identified in the functional relationship between beaked whales and their prey


Anthropogenic noise is a significant stressor for marine animals, particularly deep-diving beaked whales. Benoit-Bird and colleagues combined the distribution of frequently disturbed beaked whales on two Navy test ranges with newly available in situ measurements of their primary prey – squid. Beaked whales in both habitats showed a critical threshold response to prey, below which they were unlikely to be successful but above which small changes in resource availability facilitated large foraging gains. This implies that even modest changes in the behavior of individual whales associated with human-caused disturbance can have consequential population effects – a critical understanding for effective mitigation efforts and spatial planning in the deep sea.


Abstract   Back to contents page   Link to full PDF