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Individual-level memory is sufficient to create spatial segregation among neighboring colonies of central-place foragers
Aarts, G.M; Mul, E.; Fieberg, J.; Brasseur, S.; van Gils, J.A.; Matthiopoulos, J.; 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. https://doi.org/10.1086/715014
In: The American Naturalist. George W. Salt/University of Chicago: Salem, Mass.. ISSN 0003-0147; e-ISSN 1537-5323, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    Space partitioning; public information; animal movement; species distribution; animal tracking; central-place foraging

Authors  Top 
  • Aarts, G.M, more
  • Mul, E.
  • Fieberg, J.
  • Brasseur, S.
  • van Gils, J.A., more
  • Matthiopoulos, J.
  • Riotte-Lambert, L.

Abstract
    Central-place foragers often segregate in space, even without signs of direct agonisticinteractions. Using parsimonious individual-based simulations, we show that for species withspatial cognitive abilities, individual-level memory of resource availability can be sufficient tocause spatial segregation in the foraging ranges of colonial animals. The shapes of the foragingdistributions 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 caneasily switch to colonies located closer to favorable foraging grounds, this leads to spacepartitioning with equidistant borders between neighboring colonies. In contrast, when colonyfidelity is strong, for example because larger colonies provide safety in numbers or individualsare unable to leave, it can create a regional imbalance between resource requirements andresource availability. This leads to non-trivial space-use patterns that propagate through thelandscape. Interestingly, while better spatial memory creates more defined boundaries betweenneighboring colonies, it can lower the average intake rate of the population, suggesting apotential trade-off between an individual’s strive for increased intake and population growthrates.

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