Study on baleen whale feeding published.

Projects >> Blue whale ship strikes >> Study on baleen whale feeding published.

Goldbogen, J.A., J. Calambokidis, D.A. Croll, M.F. McKenna, E. Oleson, J. Potvin, N.D. Pyenson, G. Schorr, R.E. Shadwick, and B.R. Tershy. 2011. Scaling of lunge-feeding performance in rorqual whales: mass-specific energy expenditure increases with body size and progressively limits diving capacity. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2011.01905.x

This study examined the effect of body size on feeding performance and energetics in a family of large baleen whales called rorquals, which include blue, fin, humpback, and minke whales. Our results show that larger species take relatively bigger gulps of prey-laden water, but at a proportionally higher energetic cost that effectively decreases their ability to dive longer and deeper. This trade-off between engulfment capacity and diving capacity may explain differences in life history, prey preference, and ecological niche among different rorqual species.