New paper published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

19 Mar 2021 - 13:15

A new paper from Fitz Senior Lecturer Dr Susie Cunningham and Research Associate Dr Rowan Martin in collaboration with Dr Janet Gardner from the ANU highlights the overlooked opportunity costs of behavioural thermoregulation in birds and mammals and their potential to impact individual fitness, population persistence and ecosystem function under climate change. Lead author Susie Cunningham says: "We are used to thinking about behavioural thermoregulation - e.g. seeking shade and reducing activity during hot periods - as a way in which animals can buffer the worst impacts of increased heat under climate change. However, it is increasingly clear that behavioural thermoregulation comes at a cost: the loss of opportunities to engage in other important behaviours like foraging. These costs are non-trivial, affecting the long term survival and breeding success of birds and mammals from hot deserts to the high Arctic. The landscape of heat could be as important as the well-known landscape of fear in shaping animal behaviour and species interactions with potential to impact the functioning of ecosystems. We must start paying closer attention to the 'landscape of heat' in our studies of climate change impacts globally". Find the paper here: