Published June 2, 2023 | Version v1
Dataset Open

Variation in foraging activity influences area-restricted search behaviour by bottlenose dolphins

  • 1. University of Aberdeen
  • 2. Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research


Area-restricted search (ARS) behaviour is commonly used to characterise spatio-temporal variation in foraging activity of predators, but evidence of the drivers underlying this behaviour in marine systems is sparse. Advances in underwater sound recording techniques and automated processing of acoustic data now provide opportunities to investigate these questions where species use different vocalisations when encountering prey. Here, we used passive acoustics to investigate drivers of ARS behaviour in a population of dolphins, to determine if residency in key foraging areas increased following encounters with prey. Analyses were based on two independent proxies of foraging: echolocation buzzes (widely used as foraging proxies), and bray calls (vocalizations linked to salmon predation attempts). Echolocation buzzes were extracted from echolocation data loggers and bray calls from broadband recordings by a convolutional neural network (CNN). We found a strong positive relationship between the duration of encounters and the frequency of both foraging proxies, supporting the theory that bottlenose dolphins engage in ARS behaviour in response to higher prey encounter rates. This study provides empirical evidence for one driver of ARS behaviour and demonstrates the potential for applying passive acoustic monitoring in combination with deep learning-based techniques to investigate the behaviour of vocal animals. 


Data consist of 11 files and include the datasets and R code required to repeat all the analyses. A full description of the files is provided in the Readme.txt file:

  1. OFB_VarForARS_ClickDetails-2018SutChaCPODS.txt
  2. OFB_VarForARS_ClickDetails-Buzzes-2018SutChaCPODS.txt
  3. OFB_ VarForARS_Depl_952_AI_AnnotationResults.csv
  4. OFB_ VarForARS_Depl_953_AI_AnnotationResults.csv
  5. OFB_ VarForARS_2018_TideTimes.txt
  6. OFB_ VarForARS_AI_CPOD_Encounter_PropForagingMinutes_Tides.txt
  7. OFB_ VarForARS_ RCode-DatasetPreparation.R
  8. OFB_ VarForARS_RCode-StatisticalAnalyses.R
  9. OFB_ VarForARS_RCode-DataSummaries_Plots.R
  10. OFB_VarForARS_RCode_StatisticalAnalyses_SupMat3.R
  11. OFB_ VarForARS_README.txt



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Related works

Is derived from
10.5281/zenodo.5730199 (DOI)