Individual-level memory is sufficient to create spatial segregation among neighboring colonies of central place foragers

Aarts, G., Mul, E., Fieberg, J., Brasseur, S., van Gils, J. A., Matthiopoulos, J. and Riotte-Lambert, L. (2021) Individual-level memory is sufficient to create spatial segregation among neighboring colonies of central place foragers. American Naturalist, 198(2), E37-E52. (doi: 10.1086/715014) (PMID:34260868)

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Abstract

Central place foragers often segregate in space, even without signs of direct agonistic interactions. Using parsimonious individual-based simulations, we show that for species with spatial cognitive abilities, individual-level memory of resource availability can be sufficient to cause spatial segregation in the foraging ranges of colonial animals. The shapes of the foraging distributions are governed by commuting costs, the emerging distribution of depleted resources, and the fidelity of foragers to their colonies. When colony fidelity is weak and foragers can easily switch to colonies located closer to favorable foraging grounds, this leads to space partitioning with equidistant borders between neighboring colonies. In contrast, when colony fidelity is strong—for example, because larger colonies provide safety in numbers or individuals are unable to leave—it can create a regional imbalance between resource requirements and resource availability. This leads to nontrivial space-use patterns that propagate through the landscape. Interestingly, while better spatial memory creates more defined boundaries between neighboring colonies, it can lower the average intake rate of the population, suggesting a potential trade-off between an individual’s attempt for increased intake and population growth rates.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:Acknowledgments: G.A. was funded by Gemini Wind Park and the Dutch Research Council (NWO project ALWPP.2017.003), which allowed for the completion of this article. L.R.-L. was funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (grant no. 794760).
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Matthiopoulos, Professor Jason and Riotte-Lambert, Dr Louise
Authors: Aarts, G., Mul, E., Fieberg, J., Brasseur, S., van Gils, J. A., Matthiopoulos, J., and Riotte-Lambert, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:American Naturalist
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:0003-0147
ISSN (Online):1537-5323
Published Online:24 June 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 by The University of Chicago
First Published:First published in The American Naturalist 198(2):E37-E52
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
301817Unravellling the biological determinants of space use patterns in animalsJason MatthiopoulosEuropean Commission (EC)794760Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine