Document Detail

Activity re-assignment and microclimate selection of free-living Arabian oryx: responses that could minimise the effects of climate change on homeostasis?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23036437     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
Predicting whether behaviour could buffer the effects of climate change on long-lived mammals requires a better understanding of the long-term behavioural responses of mammals to environmental stress. Using biologging, we measured locomotor activity and microclimate selection, over eight months, in five Arabian oryx (Oryx leucoryx) living free in a Saudi Arabian desert. The oryx displayed seasonal flexibility in activity patterns, shifting from a continuous 24-h activity pattern with crepuscular peaks in cooler months to a predominantly nocturnal activity pattern during the hottest months, without reducing the total 24-h activity level. The proportion of total 24-h activity that occurred during daylight hours was just 29±8% during the hottest months, versus 53±8% (mean±SD, n=5 oryx) in the other months. The attenuation in diurnal activity levels during the hot months was accompanied by the selection of cooler microclimates, presumably via shade seeking, during the heat of the day. Analysis of miniature black globe (miniglobe) temperature from a remote sensor on the collar of two female animals revealed that oryx selected microclimates cooler than the microclimates in direct sun at higher environmental heat loads across all periods, but with enhanced efficiency during the dry periods. We have quantified activity re-assignment and microclimate selection as responses to hot arid conditions in a free-living artiodactyl. Such flexible behavioural processes may act to buffer the adverse effects of the progressively hotter and drier conditions predicted to occur with climate change.
Robyn S Hetem; W Maartin Strauss; Linda G Fick; Shane K Maloney; Leith C R Meyer; Mohammed Shobrak; Andrea Fuller; Duncan Mitchell
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-10-1
Journal Detail:
Title:  Zoology (Jena, Germany)     Volume:  -     ISSN:  1873-2720     ISO Abbreviation:  Zoology (Jena)     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-5     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9435608     Medline TA:  Zoology (Jena)     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  -     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.
Brain Function Research Group, School of Physiology, University of the Witwatersrand, 7 York Road, Parktown 2193, South Africa. Electronic address:
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