Data from: Behaviourally mediated predation avoidance in penguin prey: in situ evidence from animal-borne camera loggers
Handley, Jonathan M. et al. (2018), Data from: Behaviourally mediated predation avoidance in penguin prey: in situ evidence from animal-borne camera loggers, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5247q
Predator dietary studies often assume that diet is reflective of the diversity and relative abundance of their prey. This interpretation ignores species-specific behavioural adaptations in prey that could influence prey capture. Here, we develop and describe a scalable biologging protocol, using animal-borne camera loggers, to elucidate the factors influencing prey capture by a seabird, the gentoo penguin (Pygoscelis papua). From the video evidence, we show, for the first time, that aggressive behavioural defence mechanisms by prey can deter prey capture by a seabird. Furthermore, we provide evidence demonstrating that these birds, which were observed hunting solitarily, target prey when they are most discernible. Specifically, birds targeted prey primarily while ascending and when prey were not tightly clustered. In conclusion, we show that prey behaviour can significantly influence trophic coupling in marine systems because despite prey being present, it is not always targeted. Thus, these predator-prey relationships should be accounted for in studies using marine top predators as samplers of mid to lower trophic level species.