Baird, R.W., J.F. Borsani, M.B. Hanson and P.L. Tyack. 2002. Diving and
night-time behavior of long-finned pilot whales in the Ligurian Sea.
Marine Ecology Progress Series 237:301-305.
Pilot whales Globicephala spp. have long been thought to be deep divers,
yet little information is available on dive depths. During August 1999 we
obtained detailed dive data from suction-cup attached time-depth
recorder/VHF radio tags deployed on 5 long-finned pilot whales G. melas.
Pilot whales were tagged for short periods (average 5 h/ind.) in deep
(>2000 m) waters of the Ligurian Sea, off the NW coast of Italy. During
the day all 5 whales spent their time in the top 16 m of the water column,
and visible surface activities consisted primarily of rest and social
behaviors. Tags remained attached after dark on 2 whales and shortly after
sunset both whales made several deep dives (max. 360 and 648 m). Velocity
on these deep dives was greater than during shallow dives either during
the day or at night, suggesting that these deep dives function primarily
for foraging. Our results confirm the supposition that long-finned pilot
whales can dive deep, particularly within 2 h after sunset, which is the
time that vertically migrating prey become more readily available as they
move closer to the surface.
PDF copies or reprints can be obtained from firstname.lastname@example.org or
Anyone interested in more information on the use of suction-cup attached
time-depth recorders with cetaceans can find several additional PDF
publications and reports at: http://is.dal.ca/~whitelab/rwb/robin.htm
Robin W. Baird, Ph.D.
Post-doctoral Fellow, Biology Department, Dalhousie University
Cetacean and Sea Turtle Team, NMFS, NOAA Beaufort Lab
101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, NC 28516 USA
e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
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