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The importance of predation risk and missed opportunity costs for context-dependent foraging patterns

  • Correct assessment of risks and costs of foraging is vital for the fitness of foragers. Foragers should avoid predation risk and balance missed opportunities. In risk-heterogeneous landscapes animals prefer safer locations over riskier, constituting a landscape of fear. Risk-uniform landscapes do not offer this choice, all locations are equally risky. Here we investigate the effects of predation risk in patches, travelling risk between patches, and missed social opportunities on foraging decisions in risk-uniform and risk-heterogeous landscapes. We investigated patch leaving decisions of 20 common voles (M. arvalis) in three experimental landscapes: safe risk-uniform, risky risk-uniform and risk-heterogeneous. We varied both the predation risk level and the predation risk distribution between two patches experimentally and in steps, assuming that our manipulation consequently yield different distributions and levels of risk while foraging, risk while travelling, and costs of missed, social opportunities (MSOCs). We measured mean GUDsCorrect assessment of risks and costs of foraging is vital for the fitness of foragers. Foragers should avoid predation risk and balance missed opportunities. In risk-heterogeneous landscapes animals prefer safer locations over riskier, constituting a landscape of fear. Risk-uniform landscapes do not offer this choice, all locations are equally risky. Here we investigate the effects of predation risk in patches, travelling risk between patches, and missed social opportunities on foraging decisions in risk-uniform and risk-heterogeous landscapes. We investigated patch leaving decisions of 20 common voles (M. arvalis) in three experimental landscapes: safe risk-uniform, risky risk-uniform and risk-heterogeneous. We varied both the predation risk level and the predation risk distribution between two patches experimentally and in steps, assuming that our manipulation consequently yield different distributions and levels of risk while foraging, risk while travelling, and costs of missed, social opportunities (MSOCs). We measured mean GUDs (giving-up density of food left in the patch) for both patches as a measure of foraging gain, and delta GUD, the differences among patches, as a measure of the spatial distribution of foraging effort over a period of six hours. Distribution of foraging effort was most even in the safe risk-uniform landscapes and least even in the risk-heterogeneous landscape, with risky risk-uniform landscapes in between. Foraging gain was higher in the safe than in the two riskier landscapes (both uniform and heterogeneous). Results supported predictions for the effects of risk in foraging patches and while travelling between patches, however predictions for the effects of missed social opportunities were not met in this short term experiment. Thus, both travelling and foraging risk contribute to distinct patterns observable high risk, risk-uniform landscapes.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Jana Anja EccardORCiDGND, Thilo Liesenjohann
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0094107
ISSN:1932-6203 (print)
Pubmed Id:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=24809666
Parent Title (English):PLoS one
Publisher:PLoS
Place of publication:San Fransisco
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
Volume:9
Issue:5
Pagenumber:5
Funder:German Research Foundation (DFG) [EC361/2]
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Biochemie und Biologie
Peer Review:Referiert
Publication Way:Open Access