Southern elephant seals likely detect prey bioluminescence for foraging

Aug 29, 2012

Bioluminescence may play a key role in successful foraging for southern elephant seals, a deep-sea predator, according to research published Aug. 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The authors of the study, led by Jade Vacquié-Garcia, monitored the diving behaviour of four female southern in the southern Indian Ocean that were also equipped with light detectors.

The researchers found that increased bioluminescence was correlated with higher foraging intensity, suggesting that bioluminescence likely provides seals with valuable indications of prey occurrence.

Explore further: Lowly 'new girl' chimps form stronger female bonds

More information: Vacquie´-Garcia J, Royer F, Dragon A-C, Viviant M, Bailleul F, et al. (2012) Foraging in the Darkness of the Southern Ocean: Influence of Bioluminescence on a Deep Diving Predator. PLOS ONE 7(8): e43565. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043565

Related Stories

Ocean warming causes elephant seals to dive deeper

Feb 09, 2012

Global warming is having an effect on the dive behaviour and search for food of southern elephant seals. Researchers from the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in the Helmholtz Association cooperating ...

Southern Ocean seals dive deep for climate data

Aug 11, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- Elephant seals are helping scientists overcome a critical blind-spot in their ability to detect change in Southern Ocean circulation and sea ice production and its influence on global climate.

Elephant seal travels 18,000 miles

Dec 13, 2011

The Wildlife Conservation Society tracked a southern elephant seal for an astonishing 18,000 miles – the equivalent of New York to Sydney and back again.

Recommended for you

Our bond with dogs may go back more than 27,000 years

18 hours ago

Dogs' special relationship to humans may go back 27,000 to 40,000 years, according to genomic analysis of an ancient Taimyr wolf bone reported in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on May 21. Earlier genome ...

Social structure 'helps birds avoid a collision course'

21 hours ago

The sight of skilful aerial manoeuvring by flocks of Greylag geese to avoid collisions with York's Millennium Bridge intrigued mathematical biologist Dr Jamie Wood. It raised the question of how birds collectively ...

Orchid seductress ropes in unsuspecting males

21 hours ago

A single population of a rare hammer orchid species known as a master of sexual deception appears to have recently evolved to seduce a new and wider-spread species of impressionable male wasps.

Scientists announce top 10 new species for 2015

22 hours ago

A cartwheeling spider, a bird-like dinosaur and a fish that wriggles around on the sea floor to create a circular nesting site are among the species identified by the SUNY College of Environmental Science ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.