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Risso's dolphins perform spin dives to target deep-dwelling prey
Visser, F.; Keller, O.A.; Oudejans, M.G.; Nowacek, D.P.; Kok, A.C.M.; Huisman, J.; Sterck, E.H.M. (2021). Risso's dolphins perform spin dives to target deep-dwelling prey. Royal Society Open Science 8(12).

Bijhorende data:
In: Royal Society Open Science. The Royal Society: London. ISSN 2054-5703; e-ISSN 2054-5703, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

    Grampus griseus (G. Cuvier, 1812) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    deep-sea food web; scattering layer; deep-diving; optimal foraging; animal decision-making; Grampus griseus

Auteurs  Top 
  • Visser, F.
  • Keller, O.A.
  • Oudejans, M.G.
  • Nowacek, D.P.
  • Kok, A.C.M.
  • Huisman, J.
  • Sterck, E.H.M.


    Foraging decisions of deep-diving cetaceans can provide fundamental insight into food web dynamics of the deep pelagic ocean. Cetacean optimal foraging entails a tight balance between oxygen-conserving dive strategies and access to deep-dwelling prey of sufficient energetic reward. Risso's dolphins (Grampus griseus) displayed a thus far unknown dive strategy, which we termed the spin dive. Dives started with intense stroking and right-sided lateral rotation. This remarkable behaviour resulted in a rapid descent. By tracking the fine-scale foraging behaviour of seven tagged individuals, matched with prey layer recordings, we tested the hypothesis that spin dives are foraging dives targeting deep-dwelling prey. Hunting depth traced the diel movement of the deep scattering layer, a dense aggregation of prey, that resides deep during the day and near-surface at night. Individuals shifted their foraging strategy from deep spin dives to shallow non-spin dives around dusk. Spin dives were significantly faster, steeper and deeper than non-spin dives, effectively minimizing transit time to bountiful mesopelagic prey, and were focused on periods when the migratory prey might be easier to catch. Hence, whereas Risso's dolphins were mostly shallow, nocturnal foragers, their spin dives enabled extended and rewarding diurnal foraging on deep-dwelling prey.

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