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.