Journal article

Detecting surface-feeding behavior by rorqual whales in accelerometer data

Kylie Owen, Rebecca A Dunlop, Jason P Monty, Daniel Chung, Michael J Noad, David Donnelly, Anne W Goldizen, Thomas Mackenzie



The movement of marine animals feeding at the sea surface is restricted by wave drag and a reduction in propulsive efficiency. Many rorqual whale species lunge feed at the surface, yet existing methodologies for detecting lunges in accelerometer data have not been applied to surface-feeding behavior. Our study aimed to develop a method to detect surface-feeding behavior in accelerometer data and in doing so, determine whether wave drag influences the detection of surface-feeding behavior. A new acceleration parameter is described that considers the forward acceleration of the animal relative to its pitch. The new parameter, along with information on the deceleration and pitch angle, was then..

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Awarded by Australian Marine Mammal Centre at the Australian Antarctic Division

Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Eva Hartvig for assisting with DTAG programming and calibration, all field volunteers but in particular Scott Sheehan, and the staff and students of the Cetacean Ecology and Acoustics Laboratory for their support. Thanks also to the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre and Cat Balou Whale Watching Cruises for their support. This research was conducted under Scientific Licence number SL100183, and Commonwealth permit numbers 2011-0002 and 2012-0004. Ethical approval was granted by the NSW Director General's Animal Ethics committee (11/2374) and the University of Queensland Animal Welfare Unit (SVS/NSW/198/11/AMMC). Funding for the research was provided by the Australian Marine Mammal Centre at the Australian Antarctic Division (grant number 10/20).