Zbyszek Boratyński

Increased capacity to exercise (Green; relative maximum metabolic rate; oxygen consumption during running, accounted for variation in body mass) and decreased housekeeping costs (Red; basal metabolic rate; oxygen consumption during resting, accounted for variation in body mass) is related with increased size of mammalian home ranges. Consequently, greater amount of energy can be allocated for variable life functions (Yellow).
Increased capacity to exercise (Green; relative maximum metabolic rate; oxygen consumption during running, accounted for variation in body mass) and decreased housekeeping costs (Red; basal metabolic rate; oxygen consumption during resting, accounted for variation in body mass) is related with increased size of mammalian home ranges. Consequently, greater amount of energy can be allocated for variable life functions (Yellow).

Energy is an important resource for all essential life processes. It allows, among other things, growth, exercise and reproduction. But how the pace of energy absorption and transformation determines an animal’s performance is still not well understood. The size of animals’ home ranges, the area of their daily activities, like collecting food and finding mates, can be important for reproduction and survival. At the same time an animal’s physiological properties, such as minimal demands for energy absorbed with food to maintain bodies, or ability to run longer and faster, may determine the size of home ranges. Here, the variation in sizes of home ranges of 52 mammalian species was compared to their housekeeping energetic demands and to energy required for exhaustive running. We found that high relative housekeeping costs (high minimum energy required to maintain body function, accounting for variation in body size and running costs) was related to small size of home ranges. This suggest that energy allocation to housekeeping can constrain energy that can be allocated to other important life functions. On the other hand, species with high aerobic capacity (high energetic capacity for exhaustive running, accounting for body mass and housekeeping costs) maintained large home ranges. The results show how utilization of limited energetic resources has been maximized throughout the evolutionary history of mammals. Past selection likely favored high running capacity, but at the same time it promoted low housekeeping costs. This resulted in evolutionary optimization, a high level of energy above housekeeping (so called aerobic scope), in relation to mammalian mobility and home range size. Interestingly, these processes seems to operate independently from variation in body mass, previously identified as an important determinant of home ranges in mammals. The findings reinforce the important theories describing co-evolution between behavior, life-histories and energetics of animals.

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