Scientist discovers evidence in animal habitat selection that counters current convention

Jun 27, 2013

(Phys.org) —Chapman University's Walter Piper, Ph.D., has published research this week in a leading science journal that shows animals choose habitat similar to where they were raised rather than that likely to maximize reproductive success. This finding runs counter to current tenets of habitat selection theory.

The paper is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on June 26 and includes co-authors Michael Palmer, Nathan Banfield and Michael Meyer. Dr. Piper's research focuses on his long-term study of loons.

"The basic finding is that young loons chose to settle on territories that are very similar to their natal territories," noted Dr. Piper, professor in Chapman's Schmid College of Science and Technology. "This behavioral pattern seems to indicate that loons choose habitat so as to promote their survival, not their breeding success. This is exciting because it flies in the face of current in field of ."

Here is the abstract from the research: Scientists have long presumed that animals settle on breeding territories according to the ideal free model, which presumes that animals select habitat that maximizes the number of offspring they can produce. But settlement data often show that, in fact, animals do not select high quality habitat. Indeed, here we report that young common loons have a striking tendency to settle on breeding lakes that resemble their natal lake in terms of both size and pH. Preference for natal like rather than high quality , might allow a young animal to feed on familiar prey and, hence, increase its likelihood of surviving its early breeding years.

Explore further: Thirty new marine protected areas declared in Scotland

More information: www.chapman.edu/scst/_files/pi… earch-paper-2013.pdf

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Happy flies look for a place like home

Oct 19, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A happy youth can influence where a fruit fly chooses to live as an adult, according to new research in The American Naturalist. The study, led by Judy Stamps from the University of Califo ...

Recommended for you

Study indicates large raptors in Africa used for bushmeat

Jul 24, 2014

Bushmeat, the use of native animal species for food or commercial food sale, has been heavily documented to be a significant factor in the decline of many species of primates and other mammals. However, a new study indicates ...

Noise pollution impacts fish species differently

Jul 24, 2014

Acoustic disturbance has different effects on different species of fish, according to a new study from the Universities of Bristol and Exeter which tested fish anti-predator behaviour.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Jeddy_Mctedder
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 27, 2013
Sounds like they discovered heuristics applies to animal territorial selection.