View From Below: Inferring Behavior and Physiology of Southern Ocean Marine Predators From Dive Telemetry
Air-breathing marine animals, such as seals and seabirds, undertake a special form of central-place foraging as they must obtain their food at depth yet return to the surface to breathe. While telemetry technologies have advanced our understanding of the foraging behavior and physiology of these marine predators, the proximate and ultimate influences controlling the diving behavior of individuals are still poorly understood. Over time, a wide variety of analytical approaches have been developed for dive data obtained via telemetry, making comparative studies and syntheses difficult even amongst closely-related species. Here we review publications using dive telemetry for 24 species (marine mammals and seabirds) in the Southern Ocean in the last decade (2006–2016). We determine the key questions asked, and examine how through the deployment of data loggers these questions are able to be answered. As part of this process we describe the measured and derived dive variables that have been used to make inferences about diving behavior, foraging, and physiology. Adopting a question-driven orientation highlights the benefits of a standardized approach for comparative analyses and the development of models. Ultimately, this should promote robust treatment of increasingly complex data streams, improved alignment across diverse research groups, and also pave the way for more integrative multi-species meta-analyses. Finally, we discuss key emergent areas in which dive telemetry data are being upscaled and more quantitatively integrated with movement and demographic information to link to population level consequences.
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