Presentation Title

Social Competition at a food source between two overlapping species may lead to modified foraging behavior.

Faculty Mentor

Peter Nonacs

Start Date

23-11-2019 8:00 AM

End Date

23-11-2019 8:45 AM

Location

83

Session

poster 1

Type of Presentation

Poster

Subject Area

biological_agricultural_sciences

Abstract

Animals residing within the same habitat often must compete with one another to obtain resources. Both hetero- and conspecifics may be perceived as competition for resources, present mating opportunities, or pose a potential danger that may influence an individual's ability to exploit a food source. In order to deal with this problem, individuals may modify their behavior to better compete or circumvent the competition posed by others. Competition can be a magnified obstacle to obtaining food for species that share their habitat with other animals who utilize the same resources. This is true for California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) and steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri). Both O.beecheyi and C.stelleri populations overlap in habitat with one another within the reserve in which my work was conducted and rely on a very similar diet. I conducted an exploratory project to investigate the ways in which these two species may be modifying their behavior in order to better exploit a mutual food source. A food tray containing 6 different food choices was placed out in a location frequented by both species for a total of 8 hours a day for 5 consecutive days. Video cameras were placed above the tray to recorded activity. Footage was scored to record the species at the tray and quantify five variables for each unique visit; (1) food item choice, (2) presence of other animals, (3) if an individual was displaced from tray by another animal, and (4) aggressive behavior, and (5) the time of day. Results from this work demonstrate that the two species may be modifying the times at which they forage to minimize competition with one another. Squirrels were more likely to visit the tray in higher numbers in the mornings while jays preferred evenings. Further, jays appeared to display aggression towards squirrels while foraging.

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Nov 23rd, 8:00 AM Nov 23rd, 8:45 AM

Social Competition at a food source between two overlapping species may lead to modified foraging behavior.

83

Animals residing within the same habitat often must compete with one another to obtain resources. Both hetero- and conspecifics may be perceived as competition for resources, present mating opportunities, or pose a potential danger that may influence an individual's ability to exploit a food source. In order to deal with this problem, individuals may modify their behavior to better compete or circumvent the competition posed by others. Competition can be a magnified obstacle to obtaining food for species that share their habitat with other animals who utilize the same resources. This is true for California ground squirrels (Otospermophilus beecheyi) and steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri). Both O.beecheyi and C.stelleri populations overlap in habitat with one another within the reserve in which my work was conducted and rely on a very similar diet. I conducted an exploratory project to investigate the ways in which these two species may be modifying their behavior in order to better exploit a mutual food source. A food tray containing 6 different food choices was placed out in a location frequented by both species for a total of 8 hours a day for 5 consecutive days. Video cameras were placed above the tray to recorded activity. Footage was scored to record the species at the tray and quantify five variables for each unique visit; (1) food item choice, (2) presence of other animals, (3) if an individual was displaced from tray by another animal, and (4) aggressive behavior, and (5) the time of day. Results from this work demonstrate that the two species may be modifying the times at which they forage to minimize competition with one another. Squirrels were more likely to visit the tray in higher numbers in the mornings while jays preferred evenings. Further, jays appeared to display aggression towards squirrels while foraging.