Divergent foraging strategies between populations of sympatric matrilineal killer whales

Tennessen, Jennifer B. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1303-415X , Holt, Marla M. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4153-1484 , Wright, Brianna M. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1243-4415 , Hanson, M. Bradley, Emmons, Candice K. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1326-3646 , Giles, Deborah A. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2701-4117 , Hogan, Jeffrey T. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9928-2145 , Thornton, Sheila J. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7996-5873 , Deecke, Volker B. ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2781-5915 and Pinter-Wollman, Noa (2023) Divergent foraging strategies between populations of sympatric matrilineal killer whales. Behavioral Ecology, 34 (3). pp. 373-386.

[thumbnail of Deecke_DivergentForagingStrategies.pdf]
PDF - Published Version
Available under License CC BY

Download (756kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arad002


In cooperative species, human-induced rapid environmental change may threaten cost–benefit tradeoffs of group behavioral strategies that evolved in past environments. Capacity for behavioral flexibility can increase population viability in novel environments. Whether the partitioning of individual responsibilities within social groups is fixed or flexible across populations is poorly understood, despite its relevance for predicting responses to global change at the population and species levels and designing successful conservation programs. We leveraged bio-logging data from two populations of fish-eating killer whales (Orcinus orca) to quantify patterns of fine-scale foraging movements and their relationships with demography. We reveal striking interpopulation differences in patterns of individual foraging behavior. Females from the endangered Southern Resident (SRKW) population captured less prey and spent less time pursuing prey than SRKW males or Northern Resident (NRKW) females, whereas NRKW females captured more prey than NRKW males. The presence of a calf (≤3 years) reduced the number of prey captured by adult females from both populations, but disproportionately so for SRKW. SRKW adult males with a living mother captured more prey than those whose mother had died, whereas the opposite was true for NRKW adult males. Across populations, males foraged in deeper areas than females, and SRKW captured prey deeper than NRKW. These population-level differences in patterns of individual foraging behavior challenge the existing paradigm that females are the disproportionate foragers in gregarious resident killer whales, and demonstrate considerable variation in the foraging strategies across populations of an apex marine predator experiencing different environmental stressors.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Behavioral Ecology
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1465-7279
Departments: Institute of Science and Environment > Forestry and Conservation
Additional Information: This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2023 15:42
Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 14:47
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/6960


Downloads per month over past year

Downloads each year

Edit Item