Foraging

In the final section of this chapter we shall move away from reproduction and look at how molecular data have provided insight into the foraging behaviours of animals. We will do this by looking first at how molecular techniques can be used to identify prey remains and individual food preferences. Knowledge of prey items may help us to answer ecological questions about food webs and resource aA, assignment tests; GD, genetic differentiation in males and females based on data from the same loci; R, relatedness; MI, marker inheritance, which refers to genetic differentiation based on biparentally versus uniparentally inherited markers.

Figure 6.12 Male and female dispersal in bush and rock hyraxes on the Serengeti, as revealed by assignment tests. The bush hyrax shows evidence of female-biased dispersal, whereas dispersal of males and females in the rock hyrax is comparable. Data from Gerlach and Hoeck (2001)

Bush hyrax

Bush hyrax

Rock hyrax partitioning and can also be an important tool in conservation biology. Second, we shall look at how genetic markers can be used to track individuals as they move around in search of food, covering distances of only one or two kilometres in some species, and hundreds of kilometres in others.

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