Grey seals use anthropogenic signals from acoustic tags to locate fish: evidence from a simulated foraging task

Stansbury, Amanda L.; Götz, Thomas; Deecke, Volker B. and Janik, Vincent M. (2014) Grey seals use anthropogenic signals from acoustic tags to locate fish: evidence from a simulated foraging task.

View this record at http://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/1690/
Official URL: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1595

Abstract

Anthropogenic noise can have negative effects on animal behaviour and physiology. However, noise is often introduced systematically and potentially provides information for navigation or prey detection. Here, we show that grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) learn to use sounds from acoustic fish tags as an indicator of food location. In 20 randomized trials each, 10 grey seals individually explored 20 foraging boxes, with one box containing a tagged fish, one containing an untagged fish and all other boxes being empty. The tagged box was found after significantly fewer non-tag box visits across trials, and seals revisited boxes containing the tag more often than any other box. The time and number of boxes needed to find both fish decreased significantly throughout consecutive trials. Two additional controls were conducted to investigate the role of the acoustic signal: (i) tags were placed in one box, with no fish present in any boxes and (ii) additional pieces of fish, inaccessible to the seal, were placed in the previously empty 18 boxes, making possible alternative chemosensory cues less reliable. During these controls, the acoustically tagged box was generally found significantly faster than the control box. Our results show that animals learn to use information provided by anthropogenic signals to enhance foraging success.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: 599 Mammals, 590 Animals (Zoology), 597 Cold-blooded vertebrates, fishes
Members: University of Cumbria
Depositing User: ULCC Admin
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2016 13:05
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2017 04:17
URI: http://collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/12397

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