How do local behavioural ecology studies compare globally?

May 30, 2018, South African Journal of Science
A bat-eared fox engaging with a puzzle box – an example of testing animal cognition. Credit: PJ Jacobs

South African researchers contribute more than 3% of the global literature on mammalian behavioural ecology, with a strong focus on the broader themes of mating, social and foraging behaviour.

The large number of protected areas and mammalian guilds in South Africa provide unique opportunities for the study of behavioural ecology – a sub-discipline of zoology that has evolved and grown significantly since the start of the 20th century.

Researchers link behaviour to genetics, evolutionary trends, and fast adaptation to a rapidly changing world. Le Roux reviewed over 1000 papers published from 2000 to 2015 and determined the South African contributions to this multidisciplinary field.

Although South African researchers contribute more than 3% of the global literature, some important themes within behavioural – such as animal cognition and personalities – that are gaining rapid international traction are not studied locally.

Explore further: Prehistoric teeth dating back 2 million years reveal details on ancient Africa's climate

Related Stories

WHO says tainted food outbreak threatens 16 African nations

March 20, 2018

A deadly outbreak linked to tainted food in South Africa is now threatening other African nations, with neighboring Namibia reporting a confirmed case that might be connected, the World Health Organization said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

A decade on, smartphone-like software finally heads to space

March 20, 2019

Once a traditional satellite is launched into space, its physical hardware and computer software stay mostly immutable for the rest of its existence as it orbits the Earth, even as the technology it serves on the ground continues ...

Tiny 'water bears' can teach us about survival

March 20, 2019

Earth's ultimate survivors can weather extreme heat, cold, radiation and even the vacuum of space. Now the U.S. military hopes these tiny critters called tardigrades can teach us about true toughness.

Researchers find hidden proteins in bacteria

March 20, 2019

Scientists at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a way to identify the beginning of every gene—known as a translation start site or a start codon—in bacterial cell DNA with a single experiment and, through ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.