Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate Change: Animals Need Time To Adapt To New Habitats And Survive

Date:
August 2, 2009
Source:
Bournemouth University
Summary:
To understand how climate change may affect species survival, we need to understand how climate influences their time-keeping. New research points to time as a major factor in determining whether a species is capable of surviving in a particular habitat.

To understand how climate change may affect species survival, we need to understand how climate influences their time-keeping.

New research published in the journal Biological Reviews points to time as a major factor in determining whether a species is capable of surviving in a particular habitat.

In their paper Professor Robin Dunbar of the University of Oxford, Dr Amanda Korstjens of Bournemouth University, and Dr Julia Lehmann of Roehampton University accept that both climate and the availability of food are crucial in determining whether animals can reproduce and survive in a given habitat.

However, their latest research shows that the critical constraint on animals, through which these factors have their effect, is time because it limits an animal’s ability to harvest sufficient resources to meet its physiological requirements. On the micro-scale, time has always been an important issue for behavioural ecologists but it has not been a major focus of interest in population or conservation biology until now.

For this study, the researchers produced a systems model of time budgets revolving around core activities of animals including periods spent feeding, moving around, resting and engaging in social interactions. The team then considered abiotic variables on these activities such as temperature, seasonality and rainfall and biotic variables including the composition of an animal’s diet, its body mass, the quality and distribution of vegetation in the habitat and forest cover. Other factors included the size of any animal community groupings and susceptibility to predators.

The study considered that some species such as primates, elephants, horses, dogs, some cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) and birds may have to devote a significant proportion of their day ‘distracted’ by social interaction in order to create bonded groups. These trade-offs limit the time that individuals can devote to foraging for food which, in turn, affects that species’ capacity to survive in a particular habitat.

Time is also a factor for animals that are unable to compensate for a decline in the foraging quality of their habitats. Physiological cycles impose a limit on how long an animal can afford to build up a nutrient diet which imposes a natural time cycle within which all of their essential activities must be completed.

Foraging is not the only demand on an animal’s time. There is a well understood trade-off between feeding and risk of attack from predators and time is required (albeit in some cases only at certain times of year) for activities such as mating and parental investment not to mention territorial defence.

“While it is sometimes possible to create savings in time by eating or moving faster time is not especially elastic. Few species have the capacity to ‘‘create’’ time in the way that Red Knots, a breed of sandpiper, have been shown to do when they exploit tidal lags to support their efforts to forage along the coastlines of northern Canada and Europe.

“Our approach undoubtedly provides valuable predictive insights into extinction risk,” they continue. “Our claim is that an approach that focuses on time constraints provides additional insights into the mechanisms that underpin an animal’s relationship with its habitat because that animal’s time allocations to essential activities are the interface between a habitat’s environmental characteristics and the animal’s ability to survive there.

“In short, they allow us to say something about why a species can or cannot survive at a given location, and, where it can survive, how much demographic stress it is likely to face,” the team concludes. “A persuasive argument can therefore be made for the suggestion that the real constraint is the extent to which animals can schedule their activities to meet their physiological demands and the way these demands are affected by the intersection of the climatic and environmental variables that determine them and the time available in which to accomplish them.”



Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Bournemouth University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. I. M. Dunbar, A. H. Korstjens, J. Lehmann. Time as an ecological constraint. Biological Reviews, August 2009; Volume 84, Issue 3, Pages 413-429 [link]

Cite This Page:

Bournemouth University. "Climate Change: Animals Need Time To Adapt To New Habitats And Survive." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 August 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730074338.htm>.
Bournemouth University. (2009, August 2). Climate Change: Animals Need Time To Adapt To New Habitats And Survive. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730074338.htm
Bournemouth University. "Climate Change: Animals Need Time To Adapt To New Habitats And Survive." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090730074338.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Adorable Video of Baby Rhino and Lamb Friend Playing

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) Gertjie the Rhino and Lammie the Lamb are teaching the world about animal conservation and friendship. TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) has the adorable video! Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins