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A Foraging Cost of Migration for a Partially Migratory Cyprinid Fish  [PDF]
Ben B. Chapman, Anders Eriksen, Henrik Baktoft, Jakob Brodersen, P. Anders Nilsson, Kaj Hulthen, Christer Br?nmark, Lars-Anders Hansson, Peter Gr?nkj?r, Christian Skov
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061223
Abstract: Migration has evolved as a strategy to maximise individual fitness in response to seasonally changing ecological and environmental conditions. However, migration can also incur costs, and quantifying these costs can provide important clues to the ultimate ecological forces that underpin migratory behaviour. A key emerging model to explain migration in many systems posits that migration is driven by seasonal changes to a predation/growth potential (p/g) trade-off that a wide range of animals face. In this study we assess a key assumption of this model for a common cyprinid partial migrant, the roach Rutilus rutilus, which migrates from shallow lakes to streams during winter. By sampling fish from stream and lake habitats in the autumn and spring and measuring their stomach fullness and diet composition, we tested if migrating roach pay a cost of reduced foraging when migrating. Resident fish had fuller stomachs containing more high quality prey items than migrant fish. Hence, we document a feeding cost to migration in roach, which adds additional support for the validity of the p/g model of migration in freshwater systems.
Seasonal Variations in the Diet and Foraging Behaviour of Dunlins Calidris alpina in a South European Estuary: Improved Feeding Conditions for Northward Migrants  [PDF]
Ricardo C. Martins, Teresa Catry, Carlos D. Santos, Jorge M. Palmeirim, José P. Granadeiro
PLOS ONE , 2013, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0081174
Abstract: During the annual cycle, migratory waders may face strikingly different feeding conditions as they move between breeding areas and wintering grounds. Thus, it is of crucial importance that they rapidly adjust their behaviour and diet to benefit from peaks of prey abundance, in particular during migration, when they need to accumulate energy at a fast pace. In this study, we compared foraging behaviour and diet of wintering and northward migrating dunlins in the Tagus estuary, Portugal, by video-recording foraging birds and analysing their droppings. We also estimated energy intake rates and analysed variations in prey availability, including those that were active at the sediment surface. Wintering and northward migrating dunlins showed clearly different foraging behaviour and diet. In winter, birds predominantly adopted a tactile foraging technique (probing), mainly used to search for small buried bivalves, with some visual surface pecking to collect gastropods and crop bivalve siphons. Contrastingly, in spring dunlins generally used a visual foraging strategy, mostly to consume worms, but also bivalve siphons and shrimps. From winter to spring, we found a marked increase both in the biomass of invertebrate prey in the sediment and in the surface activity of worms and siphons. The combination of these two factors, together with the availability of shrimps in spring, most likely explains the changes in the diet and foraging behaviour of dunlins. Northward migrating birds took advantage from the improved feeding conditions in spring, achieving 65% higher energy intake rates as compared with wintering birds. Building on these results and on known daily activity budgets for this species, our results suggest that Tagus estuary provides high-quality feeding conditions for birds during their stopovers, enabling high fattening rates. These findings show that this large wetland plays a key role as a stopover site for migratory waders within the East Atlantic Flyway.
Bats' Conquest of a Formidable Foraging Niche: The Myriads of Nocturnally Migrating Songbirds  [PDF]
Ana G. Popa-Lisseanu, Antonio Delgado-Huertas, Manuela G. Forero, Alicia Rodríguez, Rapha?l Arlettaz, Carlos Ibá?ez
PLOS ONE , 2007, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0000205
Abstract: Along food chains, i.e., at different trophic levels, the most abundant taxa often represent exceptional food reservoirs, and are hence the main target of consumers and predators. The capacity of an individual consumer to opportunistically switch towards an abundant food source, for instance, a prey that suddenly becomes available in its environment, may offer such strong selective advantages that ecological innovations may appear and spread rapidly. New predator-prey relationships are likely to evolve even faster when a diet switch involves the exploitation of an unsaturated resource for which few or no other species compete. Using stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen as dietary tracers, we provide here strong support to the controversial hypothesis that the giant noctule bat Nyctalus lasiopterus feeds on the wing upon the multitude of flying passerines during their nocturnal migratory journeys, a resource which, while showing a predictable distribution in space and time, is only seasonally available. So far, no predator had been reported to exploit this extraordinarily diverse and abundant food reservoir represented by nocturnally migrating passerines.
Foraging Ecology of Fall-Migrating Shorebirds in the Illinois River Valley  [PDF]
Randolph V. Smith, Joshua D. Stafford, Aaron P. Yetter, Michelle M. Horath, Christopher S. Hine, Jeffery P. Hoover
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0045121
Abstract: Populations of many shorebird species appear to be declining in North America, and food resources at stopover habitats may limit migratory bird populations. We investigated body condition of, and foraging habitat and diet selection by 4 species of shorebirds in the central Illinois River valley during fall migrations 2007 and 2008 (Killdeer [Charadrius vociferus], Least Sandpiper [Calidris minutilla], Pectoral Sandpiper [Calidris melanotos], and Lesser Yellowlegs [Tringa flavipes]). All species except Killdeer were in good to excellent condition, based on size-corrected body mass and fat scores. Shorebird diets were dominated by invertebrate taxa from Orders Diptera and Coleoptera. Additionally, Isopoda, Hemiptera, Hirudinea, Nematoda, and Cyprinodontiformes contribution to diets varied by shorebird species and year. We evaluated diet and foraging habitat selection by comparing aggregate percent dry mass of food items in shorebird diets and core samples from foraging substrates. Invertebrate abundances at shorebird collection sites and random sites were generally similar, indicating that birds did not select foraging patches within wetlands based on invertebrate abundance. Conversely, we found considerable evidence for selection of some diet items within particular foraging sites, and consistent avoidance of Oligochaeta. We suspect the diet selectivity we observed was a function of overall invertebrate biomass (51.2±4.4 [SE] kg/ha; dry mass) at our study sites, which was greater than estimates reported in most other food selection studies. Diet selectivity in shorebirds may follow tenants of optimal foraging theory; that is, at low food abundances shorebirds forage opportunistically, with the likelihood of selectivity increasing as food availability increases. Nonetheless, relationships between the abundance, availability, and consumption of Oligochaetes for and by waterbirds should be the focus of future research, because estimates of foraging carrying capacity would need to be revised downward if Oligochaetes are truly avoided or unavailable for consumption.
The Effects of Spatially Heterogeneous Prey Distributions on Detection Patterns in Foraging Seabirds  [PDF]
Octavio Miramontes, Denis Boyer, Frederic Bartumeus
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0034317
Abstract: Many attempts to relate animal foraging patterns to landscape heterogeneity are focused on the analysis of foragers movements. Resource detection patterns in space and time are not commonly studied, yet they are tightly coupled to landscape properties and add relevant information on foraging behavior. By exploring simple foraging models in unpredictable environments we show that the distribution of intervals between detected prey (detection statistics) is mostly determined by the spatial structure of the prey field and essentially distinct from predator displacement statistics. Detections are expected to be Poissonian in uniform random environments for markedly different foraging movements (e.g. Lévy and ballistic). This prediction is supported by data on the time intervals between diving events on short-range foraging seabirds such as the thick-billed murre (Uria lomvia). However, Poissonian detection statistics is not observed in long-range seabirds such as the wandering albatross (Diomedea exulans) due to the fractal nature of the prey field, covering a wide range of spatial scales. For this scenario, models of fractal prey fields induce non-Poissonian patterns of detection in good agreement with two albatross data sets. We find that the specific shape of the distribution of time intervals between prey detection is mainly driven by meso and submeso-scale landscape structures and depends little on the forager strategy or behavioral responses.
The Nutritional Content of Prey Affects the Foraging of a Generalist Arthropod Predator  [PDF]
Jason M. Schmidt, Peter Sebastian, Shawn M. Wilder, Ann L. Rypstra
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0049223
Abstract: While foraging theory predicts that predatory responses should be determined by the energy content and size of prey, it is becoming increasingly clear that carnivores regulate their intake of specific nutrients. We tested the hypothesis that prey nutrient composition and predator nutritional history affects foraging intensity, consumption, and prey selection by the wolf spider, Pardosa milvina. By altering the rearing environment for fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, we produced high quality flies containing more nitrogen and protein and less lipid than low quality fruit flies. In one experiment, we quantified the proportion of flies taken and consumption across a range of densities of either high or low quality flies and, in a second experiment, we determined the prey capture and consumption of spiders that had been maintained on contrasting diets prior to testing. In both cases, the proportion of prey captured declined with increasing prey density, which characterizes the Type II functional response that is typical of wolf spiders. Spiders with similar nutritional histories killed similar numbers of each prey type but consumed more of the low quality prey. Spiders provided high quality prey in the weeks prior to testing killed more prey than those on the low quality diet but there was no effect of prior diet on consumption. In the third experiment, spiders were maintained on contrasting diets for three weeks and then allowed to select from a mixture of high and low quality prey. Interestingly, feeding history affected prey preferences: spiders that had been on a low quality diet showed no preference but those on the high quality diet selected high quality flies from the mixture. Our results suggest that, even when prey size and species identity are controlled, the nutritional experience of the predator as well as the specific content of the prey shapes predator-prey interactions.
Atlantic Leatherback Migratory Paths and Temporary Residence Areas  [PDF]
Sabrina Fossette,Charlotte Girard,Milagros López-Mendilaharsu,Philip Miller,Andrés Domingo,Daniel Evans,Laurent Kelle,Virginie Plot,Laura Prosdocimi,Sebastian Verhage,Philippe Gaspar,Jean-Yves Georges
PLOS ONE , 2012, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013908
Abstract: Sea turtles are long-distance migrants with considerable behavioural plasticity in terms of migratory patterns, habitat use and foraging sites within and among populations. However, for the most widely migrating turtle, the leatherback turtle Dermochelys coriacea, studies combining data from individuals of different populations are uncommon. Such studies are however critical to better understand intra- and inter-population variability and take it into account in the implementation of conservation strategies of this critically endangered species. Here, we investigated the movements and diving behaviour of 16 Atlantic leatherback turtles from three different nesting sites and one foraging site during their post-breeding migration to assess the potential determinants of intra- and inter-population variability in migratory patterns.
African Vultures Don’t Follow Migratory Herds: Scavenger Habitat Use Is Not Mediated by Prey Abundance  [PDF]
Corinne J. Kendall, Munir Z. Virani, J. Grant C. Hopcraft, Keith L. Bildstein, Daniel I. Rubenstein
PLOS ONE , 2014, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0083470
Abstract: The ongoing global decline in vulture populations raises major conservation concerns, but little is known about the factors that mediate scavenger habitat use, in particular the importance of abundance of live prey versus prey mortality. We test this using data from the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in East Africa. The two hypotheses that prey abundance or prey mortality are the main drivers of vulture habitat use provide alternative predictions. If vultures select areas based only on prey abundance, we expect tracked vultures to remain close to herds of migratory wildebeest regardless of season. However, if vultures select areas where mortality rates are greatest then we expect vultures to select the driest regions, where animals are more likely to die of starvation, and to be attracted to migratory wildebeest only during the dry season when wildebeest mortality is greatest. We used data from GSM-GPS transmitters to assess the relationship between three vulture species and migratory wildebeest in the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem. Results indicate that vultures preferentially cluster around migratory herds only during the dry season, when herds experience their highest mortality. Additionally during the wet season, Ruppell’s and Lappet-faced vultures select relatively dry areas, based on Normalized Difference Vegetation Index, whereas White-backed vultures preferred wetter areas during the wet season. Differences in habitat use among species may mediate coexistence in this scavenger guild. In general, our results suggest that prey abundance is not the primary driver of avian scavenger habitat use. The apparent reliance of vultures on non-migratory ungulates during the wet season has important conservation implications for vultures in light of on-going declines in non-migratory ungulate species and use of poisons in unprotected areas.
Prey foraging behavior, seasonality and time-budgets in black lion tamarins, Leontopithecus chrysopygus (Mikan 1823) (Mammalia, Callitrichidae)
Brazilian Journal of Biology , 2001, DOI: 10.1590/S1519-69842001000300015
Abstract: foraging behavior, seasonality and time-budgets in the black lion tamarin (l. chrysopygus) was observed in the caetetus ecological station, south-eastern brazil, during 83 days between november 1988 to october 1990. for the full dry season we found that animal prey represented 11.2% of the black lion tamarin diet, while during the wet season they represented 1.9%. foraging behavior made up 19.8% of their total activity in the dry season and only 12.8% in the wet season. these results point out that animal prey are relatively more important during the dry season, due to reduced availability of other resources, e.g. fruits, and that a greater foraging effort is required when a larger proportion of the diet is animal prey.
Prey foraging behavior, seasonality and time-budgets in black lion tamarins, Leontopithecus chrysopygus (Mikan 1823) (Mammalia, Callitrichidae)  [cached]
Brazilian Journal of Biology , 2001,
Abstract: Foraging behavior, seasonality and time-budgets in the Black Lion Tamarin (L. chrysopygus) was observed in the Caetetus Ecological Station, South-eastern Brazil, during 83 days between November 1988 to October 1990. For the full dry season we found that animal prey represented 11.2% of the black lion tamarin diet, while during the wet season they represented 1.9%. Foraging behavior made up 19.8% of their total activity in the dry season and only 12.8% in the wet season. These results point out that animal prey are relatively more important during the dry season, due to reduced availability of other resources, e.g. fruits, and that a greater foraging effort is required when a larger proportion of the diet is animal prey.
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