Bioluminescence may play a key role in successful foraging for southern elephant seals, a deep-sea predator, according to research published Aug. 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.
The authors of the study, led by Jade Vacquié-Garcia, monitored the diving behaviour of four female southern elephant seals in the southern Indian Ocean that were also equipped with light detectors. The researchers found that increased bioluminescence was correlated with higher foraging intensity, suggesting that bioluminescence likely provides seals with valuable indications of prey occurrence.
Citation: Vacquie´-Garcia J, Royer F, Dragon A-C, Viviant M, Bailleul F, et al. (2012) Foraging in the Darkness of the Southern Ocean: Influence of Bioluminescence on a Deep Diving Predator. PLOS ONE 7(8): e43565. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043565
Financial Disclosure: This study is part of the national research program (no. 109, H. Weimerskirch and the observatory Mammife`res Explorateurs du Milieu Oce´anique, MEMO SOERE CTD 02) supported by the French Polar Institute (Institut Paul Emile Victor, IPEV) and the Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Franc¸aises (TAAF). This work was carried out in the framework of IPSOS-SEAL (ANR VMC 07), TOPP-PATCHES and CNES-TOSCA programs. This work is supported by the Total Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing Interest Statement: Francois Royer from the compagny CLS-ARGOS was included in this study as a collaborator to analyze data. The authors benefited from his expertise free of charge and only in a scientific perspective. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.
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