of movement data from harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) to quantify the repeatability in foraging patches as a proxy for memory. We then integrated these data into analyses of fine-scale movement and underwater behaviour to test how both spatial memory and prey encounter rates influenced the seals’ Area Restricted Search (ARS) behaviour. Specifically, we used one month’s GPS data from 29 individuals to build spatial memory maps of searched areas, and archived accelerometery data from a subset of five individuals to detect prey catch attempts, a proxy for prey encounters.
Individuals were highly consistent in the areas they visited over two consecutive month. Hidden Markov Models showed that both spatial memory and prey encounters increased the probability of seals initiating ARS. These results provide evidence that predators use memory to adjust their fine scale movement and this ability should be accounted for in movement models.
|Number of pages||10|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|Early online date||2 Mar 2022|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Mar 2022|
We would like to thank all the staff and students who have been involved in the data collection. Matt Carter for his support in the early stages of the analysis, Sophie Brasseur for her valuable input and ideas on harbour seal feeding strategies and Thomas Bodey who provided suggestions and comments on the manuscript draft. We dedicate this study to Dr Bernie McConnell, who did so much to drive the development of the telemetry devices that revealed these and many other insights into the behaviour of seals at sea.
Data Availability StatementThe data are deposited on BirdLife International's Seabird Tracking Database http://www.seabirdtracking.org/
- Spatial memory
- Hidden Markov model
- harbour seals
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Data from: Prey encounters and spatial memory influence use of foraging patches in a marine central place forager
Iorio-Merlo, V. (Creator), Graham, I. M. (Creator), Hewitt, R. C. (Creator), Aarts, G. (Creator), Pirotta, E. (Creator), Hastie, G. D. (Creator), Thompson, P. M. (Creator) & Paton, G. (Other), Zenodo, 1 Jan 2022