To breathe or not to breathe: optimal strategies for finding prey in a dark, three-dimensional environment


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The use of sophisticated telemetry logging devices has revealed that short-finned pilot whales employ energetic sprints to chase down their deep-dwelling prey. These sprints are costly in terms of energy, and therefore oxygen, which is a valuable resource for an animal that has to hold its breath while hunting. This finding highlights the challenges faced by ecologists when trying to develop foraging models for marine predators because many of the key parameters, such as movements in three dimensions, marine prey fields and metabolic adaptations of diving animals, remain largely unknown.