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Behavioral rhythms of an opportunistic predator living in anthropogenic landscapes

AuthorsParra-Torres, Yaiza; Ramírez, Francisco ; Afán, Isabel ; Aguzzi, Jacopo ; Bouten, Willem; Forero, Manuela G. ; Navarro, Joan
KeywordsAnthropogenic influence
Foraging ecology
Opportunistic seabirds
Rhythmic behavior
Winning species
Issue DateApr-2020
PublisherBioMed Central
CitationMovement Ecology 8(1): 17 (2020)
AbstractBackground: Human activities have profoundly altered the spatio-temporal availability of food resources. Yet, there is a clear lack of knowledge on how opportunistic species adapt to these new circumstances by scheduling their daily rhythms and adjust their foraging decisions to predicable patterns of anthropic food subsidies. Here, we used nearly continuous GPS tracking data to investigate the adaptability of daily foraging activity in an opportunistic predator, the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis), in response to human schedules. Methods: By using waveform analysis, we compared timing and magnitude of peaks in daily activity of different GPS-tracked individuals in eleven different habitat types, in relation to type of day (i.e., weekday vs. weekend). Results: Daily activity rhythms varied greatly depending on whether it was a weekday or weekend, thus suggesting that gulls’ activity peaks matched the routines of human activity in each habitat type. We observed for the first time two types of activity as modelled by waveforms analysis: marine habitats showed unimodal patterns with prolonged activity and terrestrial habitats showed bimodal patterns with two shorter and variable activity peaks. Conclusions: Our results suggest that gulls are able to fine-tune their daily activity rhythms to habitat-specific human schedules, since these likely provide feeding opportunities. Behavioral plasticity may thus be an important driver of expansive population dynamics. Information on predictable relationships between daily activity patterns of gulls and human activities is therefore relevant to their population management
Description8 pages, 3 figures, supplementary information https://doi.org/10.1186/s40462-020-00205-x
Publisher version (URL)https://doi.org/10.1186/s40462-020-00205-x
Identifiersdoi: 10.1186/s40462-020-00205-x
e-issn: 2051-3933
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(ICM) Artículos
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