The energetic consequences of behavioral variation in a marine carnivore

Open Access Peer Reviewed Publication 2018

Ecology and Evolution

Intraspecific variability in foraging behavior has been documented across a range of taxonomic groups, yet the energetic consequences of this variation are not well understood for many species. Understanding the effect of behavioral variation on energy expenditure and acquisition is particularly crucial for mammalian carnivores because they have high energy requirements that place considerable pressure on prey populations. To determine the influence of behavior on energy expenditure and balance, we combined simultaneous measurements of at-sea field metabolic rate (FMR) and foraging behavior in a marine carnivore that exhibits intraspecific behavioral variation, the California sea lion (Zalophus californianus). Sea lions exhibited variability in at-sea FMR, with some individuals expending energy at a maximum of twice the rate of others. This variation was in part attributable to differences in diving behavior that may have been reflective of diet; however, this was only true for sea lions using a foraging strategy consisting of epipelagic (<200 m within the water column) and benthic dives. In contrast, sea lions that used a deep-diving foraging strategy all had similar values of at-sea FMR that were unrelated to diving behavior. Energy intake did not differ between foraging strategies and was unrelated to energy expenditure. Our findings suggest that energy expenditure in California sea lions may be influenced by interactions between diet and oxygen conservation strategies. There were no apparent energetic trade-offs between foraging strategies, although there was preliminary evidence that foraging strategies may differ in their variability in energy balance. The energetic consequences of behavioral variation may influence the reproductive success of female sea lions and result in differential impacts of individuals on prey populations. These findings highlight the importance of quantifying the relationships between energy expenditure and foraging behavior in other carnivores for studies addressing fundamental and applied physiological and ­ecological questions.

Link To Publication

Similar Research

Anthropogenic sound and marine mammal health: measures of the nervous and immune systems before and after intense sound exposure

Pay-walled Journal Article 2004

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Anthropogenic sound is a potential stressor for marine mammals that may affect health, as has been demonstrated in other mammals. Therefore, we have initiated investigations on...
Read More

International Regulation Of Transboundary Pollutants: The Emerging Challenge Of Ocean Noise

Open Access Journal Article 2001

Ocena and Coastal Law Journal

Transboundary pollution law poses the challenge of addressing environmental problems irrespective of boundaries in an international legal system that values, above all, territorial sovereignty of individual...
Read More

A Brief Review of Anthropogenic Sound in the Oceans

Open Access Journal Article 2007

International Journal of Comparative Psychology

Sound in the oceans is generated by a variety of natural sources, such as breaking waves, rain, and marine animals, as well as a variety of...
Read More

Effect of anthropogenic low-frequency noise on the foraging ecology of Balaenoptera whales

Pay-walled Journal Article 2006

Animal Conservation

The human contribution to ambient noise in the ocean has increased over the past 50 years, and is dominated by low-frequency (LF) sound (frequencies <1000 Hz)...
Read More

Response and Responsibility: Regulating Noise Pollution in the Marine Environment

Pay-walled Journal Article 2007

Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy

The ocean is becoming an increasingly noisy environment. With a rise in com-mercial shipping, resource extraction activities, and military-related activities,the underwater ocean environment is a virtual...
Read More

Influences of man-made noise and other human actions on cetacean behaviour

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

Marine and Freshwater Behaviour and Physiology

Behavioral reactions of cetaceans to man-made noises are highly variable, ranging from attraction (e.g. bow riding by dolphins) or no response through short-term changes in behaviour...
Read More

Determination of environmental sensitivity of acoustic propagation on continental shelves using an equivalent fluid parabolic equation model

Pay-walled Journal Article 1995

The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America

A coupled environment and acoustic prediction system was developed to evaluate the sensitivity of acoustic propagation on the continental shelf to water column and sediment properties....
Read More

Effects of underwater noise on auditory sensitivity of a cyprinid fish

Pay-walled Journal Article 2001

Hearing Research

The ability of a fish to interpret acoustic information in its environment is crucial for its survival. Thus, it is important to understand how underwater noise...
Read More

Effects of noise exposure on click detection and the temporal resolution ability of the goldfish auditory system

Pay-walled Journal Article 2005

Hearing Research

Hearing specialist fishes investigated so far revealed excellent temporal resolution abilities, enabling them to accurately process temporal patterns of sounds. Because noise is a growing environmental...
Read More

The effects of noise on the auditory sensitivity of the bluegill sunfish, Lepomis macrochirus

Pay-walled Journal Article 2002

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology

As concerns about the effects of underwater anthropogenic noises on the auditory function of organisms increases, it is imperative to assess if all organisms are equally...
Read More