This figure illustrates how animal personality traits drive individual dietary breadth, diet quality and individual dietary specialisation of a mammalian herbivore.

Animal personality drives individual dietary specialisation across multiple dimensions in a mammalian herbivore

Anushika, P. H. M. Herath; Katie, K. Y. Wat; Peter, B. Banks; Clare, McArthur Consistent individual differences in behavior (i.e. animal personality) and in food resource use (i.e. individual dietary specialisation) both have important ecological and evolutionary implications. Animal personality should directly affect individual diet and dietary specialisation, by mediating the perceived costs and benefits associated with foraging. Uniting these two fields will be an … Continue reading Animal personality drives individual dietary specialisation across multiple dimensions in a mammalian herbivore

Night warming alters population structure, population growth rate and prey consumption of predator (photo credit: by Gang Ma)

Night warming causes novel changes in predator-prey interactions

Ma, Chun-Sen; Ma, Gang; Bai, Chun-Ming; Rudolf, Volker The global mean surface temperature has risen substantially, and this temperature increase can affect trophic interactions around the globe. Importantly, the rise in mean air temperatures is largely driven by a faster rate of increase in nighttime than daytime temperatures. Yet, most previous work on warming has focused on increase in average or day temperature, and it … Continue reading Night warming causes novel changes in predator-prey interactions

Mangrove fringed shores provide protection against predators for the juvenile lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris), but they may not be the best hunting grounds. Sharks with a more explorative personality forage in more dangerous and fruitful offshore habitats, but only when the abundance of predators is low. Photo © Chelle Blais

Juvenile lemon sharks forage according to their personalities… Unless many predators are around

Dhellemmes, Felicie; Smukall, Matthew; Guttridge, Tristan; Krause, Jens; Hussey, Nigel The last three decades have seen animal ecologists focus more and more on animal personality. Animal personality describes the fact that individuals within a population differ consistently in their behaviour. For example, some animals of the same species are always more explorative than others, regardless of other traits like sex, age or size. Personality is … Continue reading Juvenile lemon sharks forage according to their personalities… Unless many predators are around

Group of rabbitfish Siganus virgatus feeding on a Sargassum assay on the reef crest of Pulau Satumu, Singapore. Photo credit: Andrew G. Bauman

Larger groups herbivorous fishes overcome fear effects and increase macroalgal removal on coral reefs

Bauman, Andrew G; Hoey, Andrew; Dunshea, Glenn; Fong, Jenny; Chan, Ian; Todd, Peter Coral reefs support a high abundance and diversity of fishes, including those that feed on plant material (herbivores) and predators that feed on other fish. One important group of herbivorous fishes called ‘browsers’ feed on large macroalgae (or seaweeds), helping to maintain healthy coral reefs. Studies show that browsers change where and … Continue reading Larger groups herbivorous fishes overcome fear effects and increase macroalgal removal on coral reefs

A microbial predator: the fruiting body of the social amoeba Dictyostelium discoideum. Photo courtesy of Tyler Larsen.

Microbial predators also have a hunting strategy, just like big cats

Shi, Yijing; Shu, Longfei; He, Zhenzhen; Guan, Xiaotong; Yang, Xueqin; Tian, Yuehui; Zhang, Siyi; Wu, Chenyuan; He, Zhili; Yan, Qingyun; Wang, Cheng When you think about top predators, you may picture big cats like lions and tigers, or crocodiles and the great white shark. In the microbial world, bacteria are the most abundant prey. For them, protists, a group of single-cell eukaryotic microbes, are their … Continue reading Microbial predators also have a hunting strategy, just like big cats

Humpback whale feeding at an aquaculture release site in Southeast Alaska. Photo by Monique Anderson.

Doing the math to understand tradeoffs in baleen whale prey selection and feeding tactics

Chenoweth E.M., Boswell, K.M. Friedlaender, A.S, McPhee M.V., Burrows J.A., Heintz, R.A., and Straley, J.M. Baleen whales are a group of toothless mammals that include both humpback whales and the largest animals ever to live on earth, blue whales.  These animals feed by engulfing enormous quantities of seawater and prey into their mouth, which can expand almost like a pelican’s.  They then use baleen as … Continue reading Doing the math to understand tradeoffs in baleen whale prey selection and feeding tactics

Invasive lionfish in the Bahamas. Photo credit: Lillian J. Tuttle

Invasive lionfish quickly learn to avoid a ‘spicy’ prey fish in the Caribbean

Tuttle, Lillian; Lamb, Robert; Stringer, Allison Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me. Lionfish, a highly invasive inhabitant of Caribbean coral reefs, may be learning this lesson the hard way. This spiny predator is infamous for its voracious appetite — lionfish consume an impressive quantity and diversity of prey, with few species able to escape their jaws — until now. … Continue reading Invasive lionfish quickly learn to avoid a ‘spicy’ prey fish in the Caribbean

How the threat of predation influences the foraging behaviour or herbivores

Sirot, Etienne; Blanchard, Pierrick; Loison, Anne; Pays, Olivier Herbivores continually adapt their behaviour to cope with a pervasive threat of predation. This is particularly true during foraging periods, when these animals attend areas where predators also concentrate their activity. In the present study we explore the influence of predation threat on an herbivore’s foraging behaviour. Practically, we build a mathematical model to study the shaping … Continue reading How the threat of predation influences the foraging behaviour or herbivores

Damselfishes swim among the coral branches in the mid-day sun at the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. (Photo: Fredrik Jutfelt)

Too hot to eat – why aquatic animals reduce feeding during warming

Fredrik Jutfelt, Tommy Norin, Eirik Asheim, Lauren Rowsey, Anna Andreassen, Rachael Morgan, Timothy Clark, Ben Speers-Roesch Aquatic animals reduce feeding when water temperatures become too warm, but the cause of their reduced appetite is unknown. We propose a new hypothesis that explains the physiological mechanism causing the reduced feeding.Water-breathing animals, such as fish, have the same body temperature as the water surrounding them. Therefore, when … Continue reading Too hot to eat – why aquatic animals reduce feeding during warming

Bombus ignitus foraging on artificial flower (Photo by Hiroshi S Ishii)

Alternative flowers affect model and mimic flower discrimination performance of bumble bees

Tsujimoto, Shohei; Ishii, Hiroshi Some animal-pollinated flowers have no rewards but attract pollinators by imitating rewarding flowers. This strategy is called Batesian floral mimicry, and has mainly been understood in terms of the relationships between mimics (non-rewarding flowers), models (rewarding flowers) and dupes (pollinators that are fooled by mimic flowers). However, flowers that are dissimilar to both model and mimic flowers (alternative flowers, hereafter) may … Continue reading Alternative flowers affect model and mimic flower discrimination performance of bumble bees