How do animals use their time in the wild? A Rice University researcher is part of a new study showing what motivates the daily dispersal of tropical populations.
The study, led by an international team including Rice bioscientist Lydia Beaudrot and led by Andrea Vallejo-Vargas, a graduate student at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences and currently visiting scholar at Rice, found that mammalian communities in the wet tropics are dividing. days are similar, all usually geared towards finding their next meal. (Or avoiding being the next meal.)
Using millions of images from camera trap nets in 16 protected forests around the world, they examined the relationship of mammalian activity to body size and feeding routines to find commonalities among various populations.
open access studies Nature Communication confirms that, despite their diversity, similar patterns dominated wildlife days in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
The study showed that the activity of herbivores and insectivores is greatly affected by the temperature in the environment (“temperature regulatory constraints” in working language). For example, large African herbivores are seven times more likely to live at night than small herbivores.
Interactions between predators and prey were primarily dominated by the time of day.
Within this regimen, the researchers found that the “top-down” activities that dominated hunting days naturally focused on not being eaten. They avoid exposure at times when predators are likely to hunt. Size is also important in this regard: small carnivores, for example, vary their activities to reduce their encounters with large carnivores.
Conversely, “bottom-up” strategies affect how predators adjust their activities to maximize their encounter with prey.
“The way you think about a food chain, top-down refers to how higher tropic levels – namely predators – affect their prey, while bottom-up refers to how lower lower trophic levels – food sources, including plants and insects. It affects the animals that eat them,” he said.
“This article is a prime example of how important it is to collect standardized data that is replicated over large spatial extents,” he said. “By analyzing data collected in the same way in national parks in the tropics, we were able to detect similarities in behavioral activities that could not be measured before.”
Beaudrot provided feedback throughout the development of the research project and manuscript, and advised the team on the details of working with camera trap data based on his own experience.
He said all cameras are well placed inside the national parks and set up in the best possible way to assess tropical wildlife with minimal human impact. “None of the protected areas are free from human influence, but they do give us the best chance of measuring wildlife similarities between regions,” Beaudrot said. Said.
He noted that while species in different regions may have evolved in isolation from one another, the study provides solid evidence that similar environmental conditions in rainforests around the world lead to consistent patterns of activity among wildlife.
“This suggests convergence in animal behavior in response to rainforest environments,” Beaudrot said. Said.
The paper’s co-authors are Rice’s visiting scholar Asunción Semper-Pascual; Douglas Sheil of the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands and the Indonesian International Center for Forest Research; Robert Bitariho of Uganda Mbarara University of Science and Technology; Jorge Ahumada of the Moore Center for Science, Conservation International, Arlington, Virginia; Emmanuel Akampurira from University of Ghent, Belgium and Mbarara University; Santiago Espinosa from the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosi in Mexico and the Pontifical Catholic University in Ecuador, Quito; Vittoria Estienne of the Republic of the Congo Wildlife Conservation Society; Patrick Jansen of Wageningen and the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama; Charles Kayijamahe, International Gorilla Conservation Program, Kigali, Rwanda; Emanuel Martin of the African College of Wildlife Management, Tanzania; Marcela Guimarães Moreira Lima of the Federal University of Pará, Brazil; Badru Mugerwa of the Leibniz Zoo and Wildlife Research Institute, Berlin and the Technical University of Berlin; Francesco Rovero, University of Florence and Trento Science Museum, Italy; Julia Salvador of the Ecuadorian Wildlife Conservation Society; Fernanda Santos of Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Belém Pará, Brazil; Wilson Roberto Spironello of Brazil’s National Amazon Research Institute; Eustrate Uzabaho from the International Gorilla Conservation Programme; and Richard Bischof of the Norwegian Life Sciences Institute.
The Norwegian Research Council (NFR301075) and the National Science Foundation (DEB-2213568) funded the research.
materials provided by rice university. Originally written by Mike Williams. Note: Content can be edited for style and length.