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Type: Journal article
Title: N-dimensional animal energetic niches clarify behavioural options in a variable marine environment
Author: Wilson, R.
McMahon, C.
Quintana, F.
Frere, E.
Scolaro, A.
Hays, G.
Bradshaw, C.
Citation: The Journal of Experimental Biology, 2011; 214(4):646-656
Publisher: Company of Biologists Ltd
Issue Date: 2011
ISSN: 0022-0949
Statement of
Rory P. Wilson, Clive R. McMahon, Flavio Quintana, Esteban Frere, Alejandro Scolaro, Graeme C. Hays and Corey J. A. Bradshaw
Abstract: Animals respond to environmental variation by exhibiting a number of different behaviours and/or rates of activity, which result in corresponding variation in energy expenditure. Successful animals generally maximize efficiency or rate of energy gain through foraging. Quantification of all features that modulate energy expenditure can theoretically be modelled as an animal energetic niche or power envelope; with total power being represented by the vertical axis and n-dimensional horizontal axes representing extents of processes that affect energy expenditure. Such an energetic niche could be used to assess the energetic consequences of animals adopting particular behaviours under various environmental conditions. This value of this approach was tested by constructing a simple mechanistic energetics model based on data collected from recording devices deployed on 41 free-living Magellanic penguins (Spheniscus magellanicus), foraging from four different colonies in Argentina and consequently catching four different types of prey. Energy expenditure was calculated as a function of total distance swum underwater (horizontal axis 1) and maximum depth reached (horizontal axis 2). The resultant power envelope was invariant, irrespective of colony location, but penguins from the different colonies tended to use different areas of the envelope. The different colony solutions appeared to represent particular behavioural options for exploiting the available prey and demonstrate how penguins respond to environmental circumstance (prey distribution), the energetic consequences that this has for them, and how this affects the balance of energy acquisition through foraging and expenditure strategy.
Keywords: survival
energy expenditure
optimal strategy
performance constraints
energetic niche
power envelope
behavioural plasticity
Magellanic penguin
Spheniscus magellanicus.
Rights: © 2011. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
DOI: 10.1242/jeb.044859
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications
Environment Institute Leaders publications

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