Southern elephant seals likely detect prey bioluminescence for foraging

August 29, 2012

Bioluminescence may play a key role in successful foraging for southern elephant seals, a deep-sea predator, according to research published Aug. 29 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

The authors of the study, led by Jade Vacquié-Garcia, monitored the diving behaviour of four female southern elephant seals in the southern Indian Ocean that were also equipped with light detectors. The researchers found that increased bioluminescence was correlated with higher foraging intensity, suggesting that bioluminescence likely provides seals with valuable indications of prey occurrence.
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Citation: Vacquie´-Garcia J, Royer F, Dragon A-C, Viviant M, Bailleul F, et al. (2012) Foraging in the Darkness of the Southern Ocean: Influence of Bioluminescence on a Deep Diving Predator. PLOS ONE 7(8): e43565. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0043565

Financial Disclosure: This study is part of the national research program (no. 109, H. Weimerskirch and the observatory Mammife`res Explorateurs du Milieu Oce´anique, MEMO SOERE CTD 02) supported by the French Polar Institute (Institut Paul Emile Victor, IPEV) and the Territoire des Terres Australes et Antarctiques Franc¸aises (TAAF). This work was carried out in the framework of IPSOS-SEAL (ANR VMC 07), TOPP-PATCHES and CNES-TOSCA programs. This work is supported by the Total Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interest Statement: Francois Royer from the compagny CLS-ARGOS was included in this study as a collaborator to analyze data. The authors benefited from his expertise free of charge and only in a scientific perspective. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.

Disclaimer: This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLOS ONE. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.

About PLOS ONEPLOS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLOS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.

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