Linking movement and dive data to prey distribution models: new insights in foraging behaviour and potential pitfalls of movement analyses

Katie R. N. Florko*, Courtney R. Shuert, William W. L. Cheung, Steven H. Ferguson, Ian D. Jonsen, David A. S. Rosen, U. Rashid Sumaila, Travis C. Tai, David J. Yurkowski, Marie Auger-Méthé

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background: Animal movement data are regularly used to infer foraging behaviour and relationships to environmental characteristics, often to help identify critical habitat. To characterize foraging, movement models make a set of assumptions rooted in theory, for example, time spent foraging in an area increases with higher prey density. 

Methods: We assessed the validity of these assumptions by associating horizontal movement and diving of satellite-telemetered ringed seals (Pusa hispida)—an opportunistic predator—in Hudson Bay, Canada, to modelled prey data and environmental proxies. 

Results: Modelled prey biomass data performed better than their environmental proxies (e.g., sea surface temperature) for explaining seal movement; however movement was not related to foraging effort. Counter to theory, seals appeared to forage more in areas with relatively lower prey diversity and biomass, potentially due to reduced foraging efficiency in those areas. 

Conclusions: Our study highlights the need to validate movement analyses with prey data to effectively estimate the relationship between prey availability and foraging behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalMovement Ecology
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Animal tracking
  • Biologging
  • Habitat selection
  • Move-persistence mixed-effects model
  • Movement ecology
  • Simpson’s Diversity Index
  • Trophic interactions

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