Research on cetacean foraging ecology is central to our understanding of their spatial and behavioral ecology. Yet, functional mechanisms by which cetaceans detect prey across different scales remain unclear.

In this paper the author postulates that cetaceans utilize a scale dependent, multimodal sensory system to assess and increase prey encounters. The author reviews the literature on cetacean sensory systems related to foraging ecology, and hypothesizes the effective scales of each sensory modality to inform foraging opportunities. Next, the author builds two “scale-​of-​senses” schematics for the general groups of dolphins and baleen whales. These schematics illustrate the hypothetical interchange of sensory modalities used to locate and discriminate prey at spatial scales ranging from 0 m to 1,000 km: (1) vision, (2) audition (sound production and sound reception), (3) chemoreception, (4) magnetoreceptio​n, and somatosensory perception of (5) prey, or (6) oceanographic stimuli.The schematics illustrate how a cetacean may integrate sensory modalities to form an adaptive foraging landscape as a function of distance to prey. The scale-of-senses schematic is flexible, allowing for case-specific application and enhancement with improved cetacean sensory data. The framework serves to improve the understanding of functional cetacean foraging ecology, and to develop new hypotheses, methods, and results regarding how cetaceans forage at multiple scales.

Authors: 
Torres, Leigh G.
Short Description: 
In this paper the researcher postulates that cetaceans utilize a scale dependent, multimodal sensory system to assess and increase prey encounters.
Product Number: 
ORESU-R-17-018
Entry Date: 
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Length: 
24 pages
Source (Journal Article): 
Marine Mammal Science, 33(4):1170-​1193, October 2017
DOI Number (Journal Article): 
10.1111/mms.124​26
Year of Publication: 
2017
How to Order: 

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