Harbour porpoises (Phocoena phocoena) visit Ramsey Sound at specific states of tide to feed. The preferred foraging location is high-energy habitat in South Ramsey Sound where a tide race, overfalls and upwelling zones form during the ebb phase. Seabed topography and tidal currents combine to create a foraging resource exploited by harbour porpoises at regular and predictable intervals. Porpoises are observed surfacing repeatedly directly into the tidal stream above and adjacent to, a steep-sided trench on the seabed. Tidal currents and the steep walls of the trench are believed to concentrate prey which is funnelled towards the waiting porpoises. Schools with calves prefer areas on the periphery of the fastest flowing water, where current speeds are lower. The presence of harbour porpoises is restricted almost entirely to the ebb tidal phase, but porpoises regularly occupy this site for the entire ebb phase. Harbour porpoise foraging in a tide race habitat is widely reported from the geographical range of the harbour porpoise and raises issues regarding foraging strategy and the net energetic value of hunting prey in high-energy environments.
Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) Foraging Strategy at a High-Energy, Near-Shore Site in South-West Wales
Title: Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) Foraging Strategy at a High-Energy, Near-Shore Site in South-West Wales
September 01, 2008
Journal: Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK
Publisher: Marine Biological Association
Pierpoint, C. (2008). Harbour Porpoise (Phocoena phocoena) Foraging Strategy at a High-Energy, Near-Shore Site in South-West Wales. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, 88(6), 1167-1173.