Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) acoustic foraging behavior and applications for long term monitoring
Cook Inlet, Alaska, is home to an endangered and declining population of 279 belugas (Delphinapterus leucas). Recovery efforts highlight a paucity of basic ecological knowledge, impeding the correct assessment of threats and the development of recovery actions. In particular, information on diet and foraging habitat is very limited for this population. Passive acoustic monitoring has proven to be an efficient approach to monitor beluga distribution and seasonal occurrence. Identifying acoustic foraging behavior could help address the current gap in information on diet and foraging habitat. To address this conservation challenge, eight belugas from a comparative, healthy population in Bristol Bay, Alaska, were instrumented with a multisensor tag (DTAG), a satellite tag, and a stomach temperature transmitter in August 2014 and May 2016. DTAG deployments provided 129.6 hours of data including foraging and social behavioral states. A total of 68 echolocation click trains ending in terminal buzzes were identified during successful prey chasing and capture, as well as during social interactions. Of these, 37 click trains were successfully processed to measure inter-click intervals (ICI) and ICI trend in their buzzing section. Terminal buzzes with short ICI (minimum ICI
Castellote, Manuel; Mooney, Aran; Andrews, Russel; and DeRuiter, Stacy L., "Beluga whale (Delphinapterus leucas) acoustic foraging behavior and applications for long term monitoring" (2021). University Faculty Publications and Creative Works. 109.