Population Ecology

, Volume 46, Issue 1, pp 39–53

Analysis of foraging movements of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus): individuals switch between two modes of search behaviour

  • Nathaniel K. Newlands
  • Molly E. Lutcavage
  • Tony J. Pitcher
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10144-004-0169-9

Cite this article as:
Newlands, N.K., Lutcavage, M.E. & Pitcher, T.J. Popul Ecol (2004) 46: 39. doi:10.1007/s10144-004-0169-9


We investigate the application of quantitative techniques for distinguishing adaptive search behaviour in Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus). The analysis demonstrates the application of a novel spectral analysis technique for resolving and measuring periodicity in animal behaviour patterns. Two different search strategies are identified that include regulation of turning (klinokinesis) and speed (orthokinesis). Our results provide evidence that bluefin tuna attempt to optimize their searching efficiency through adjustments in the duration and timing of switching between these two searching strategies. Repetitive, diurnal deep dives were also found to coincide with switching of search behaviour. Additional tracking experiments with larger sample sizes are needed to better identify how individuals switch between the two search strategies and how such decisions may collectively improve the searching and foraging efficiency of their schools (synchrokinesis, social taxis) in response to changes in the size or composition of prey aggregations.


KlinokinesisNon-stationaryOrthokinesisSearch behaviourSpectral method

Copyright information

© The Society of Population Ecology and Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nathaniel K. Newlands
    • 1
  • Molly E. Lutcavage
    • 2
  • Tony J. Pitcher
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of MathematicsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of New HampshireDurhamUSA
  3. 3.Fisheries CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada