For the first time bio-logging tags were attached to free-ranging white-beaked dolphins, Lagenorhynchus albirostris. A satellite tag was attached to one animal while an acoustic A-tag, a time-depth recorder and a VHF transmitter complex was attached to a second dolphin with a suction cup. The satellite tag transmitted for 201 days, during which time the dolphin stayed in the coastal waters of western Iceland. The acoustic tag complex was on the second animal for 13 hours and 40 minutes and provided the first insight in echolocation behaviour of a free-ranging white-beaked dolphin. The tag registered 162 dives. The dolphin dove to a maximum depth of 45 m, which is about the depth of the bay in which the dolphin was swimming. Two basic types of dives were identified; U-shaped and V-shaped dives. The dolphin used more time in U-shaped dives, more clicks and sonar signals with shorter click intervals compared to those it used in V-shaped dives. The dolphin was in acoustic contact with other dolphins about five hours after it was released and stayed with these for the rest of the tagging time. Possible foraging attempts were found based on the reduction of click intervals from about 100 ms to 2-3 ms, which suggests a prey capture attempt. We found 19 punitive prey capture attempts and of these 53 % occurred at the maximum dive depth. This suggests that more than half of the possible prey capture events occurred at or near the sea bed.
Deep-sea Research. Part 2: Topical Studies in Oceanography, 2013, Vol 88-89, p. 97-105