Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

What should I eat? Experimental evidence for prey selection in grey seals

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Understanding the responses of predators, such as seals, to variations in prey availability is key to understanding their role in marine ecosystems. Individual variation in prey preference is likely to be important but we have little information on this aspect of predator behaviour. Operant conditioning techniques and an underwater feeding apparatus were used to test the prey species and size preferences of five captive grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, in a series of paired choice trials. The experimental procedure was designed to present simple foraging choices to remove as many potentially confounding variables as possible. Results suggest that individual grey seals exhibit prey preferences. When presented with different numbers of items of the same species, seals generally selected the larger number of prey items. When presented with choices between two species, seals apparently showed consistent preferences for particular species. However, the apparent species preferences may be simply explained in terms of size selection.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-41
Number of pages7
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume123
Early online date18 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017

    Research areas

  • Halichoerus grypus, paired choice, pinniped, prey preference, size selection

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Post-disturbance haulout behaviour of harbour seals

    Paterson, W. D., Russell, D. J. F., Wu, G-M., McConnell, B., Currie, J. I., McCafferty, D. J. & Thompson, D., 6 Sep 2019, In : Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29, S1, p. 144-156 13 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Modelling the population size and dynamics of the British grey seal

    Thomas, L., Russell, D. JF., Duck, C. D., Morris, C., Lonergan, M. E., Empacher, F., Thompson, D. & Harwood, J., 6 Sep 2019, In : Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. 29, S1, p. 6-23

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Shining new light on mammalian diving physiology using wearable near-infrared spectroscopy

    McKnight, J. C., Bennett, K., Bronkhorst, M., Russell, D. JF., Balfour, S., Milne, R., Bivins, M., Moss, S. E. W., Colier, W., Hall, A. J. & Thompson, D., 18 Jun 2019, In : PLoS Biology. 17, 6, 20 p., e3000306.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Related by journal

  1. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)
    1 Jan 201831 Dec 2018

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  2. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Will Cresswell (Reviewer)
    15 Sep 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

  3. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Michael Munro Webster (Editor)
    1 Jan 201731 Dec 2019

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  4. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)
    1 Jan 201731 Dec 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

  5. Animal Behaviour (Journal)

    Susan Denise Healy (Editor)
    1 Jun 201631 Dec 2016

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesEditor of research journal

Related by journal

  1. Evolutionary roads to syntax

    Zuberbuhler, K., May 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 151, p. 259-265

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Male Norway rats cooperate according to direct but not generalized reciprocity rules

    Schweinfurth, M. K., Aeschbacher, J., Santi, M. & Taborsky, M., Jun 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 152, p. 93-101

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Precocial juvenile lizards show adult level learning and behavioural flexibility

    Szabo, B., Noble, D. W. A., Byrne, R. W., Tait, D. S. & Whiting, M. J., Aug 2019, In : Animal Behaviour. 154, p. 75-84 10 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Development of object manipulation in wild chimpanzees

    Lamon, N., Neumann, C. & Zuberbuhler, K., Jan 2018, In : Animal Behaviour. 135, p. 121-130

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  5. Experience shapes social information use in foraging fish

    Webster, M. M. & Laland, K. N., Dec 2018, In : Animal Behaviour. 146, p. 63-70

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 250729841