1 Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, 7050, Tasmania, Australia
2 Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, GPO Box 44, Hobart, 7001, Tasmania, Australia
A key short-fall with animal-borne bio-logging instruments, which collect digital time-series data regarding the foraging behaviours of cryptic marine mammal species, is validating those data against in situ behaviours.
To collate direct observations of elephant seal feeding behaviour to help interpret foraging behaviours inferred from Time-Depth Recorder (TDR) data.
Direct observations of elephant seal foraging behaviour were collated from the published literature using a search of the world-wide-web. Those observations were supplemented with an unpublished record.
Two deep-sea video recordings and six surface sightings of elephant seals ingesting prey were collated. Each observation either supported or suggested an alternative to behaviours derived from digital time-depth profiles. The tendency for elephant seals to surface following the capture of large prey suggests precipitous drops in stomach temperature at the sea-surface, which have been recorded and interpreted as drinking events, more likely represent the ingestion of large prey items.
Direct observations of marine mammal foraging behaviours are rare, yet they provide a means to continuously evaluate and interpret outcomes of bio-logging instruments.
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* Address correspondence to this author at: Australian Antarctic Division, 203 Channel Highway, Kingston, 7050, Tasmania, Australia; Email: email@example.com