Sea mammals chat to share prey


Being from different species hasn't managed to stop a collection of marine mammals from splitting up their prey amongst one another, a new study has found.

Led by Professor Purnima Ratilal from Boston's Northeastern University, the scientists mapped the vocalisations and spatial distributions of eight different mammal species in the Atlantic Ocean's Gulf of Maine.

The study focused on a herring feeding ground and examined several different dolphin and whale species, including the blue, humpback, fin, sei, sperm, pilot, minke and killer whales.

All of the predators involved in the research shared the common feeding ground, which spread over an area of around 100,000 square kilometres.

By examining and mapping the vocalisations of the different creatures, the authors found the mammals split the feeding ground into different foraging sectors for each species. Each sector overlapped another in differing amounts.

On top of that, the sectors are retained for at least two weeks that the herring spawn.

With the research giving more details into the foraging activities of a diverse group of species, it's hoped it can be used to help with work on marine ecosystems.

It may also help in understanding the effect humans are having on protected marine species, the authors say.