Behavioral Ecophysics of Nectar-feeding Animals

Thu, Dec 2, 2021, 12:30 pm

Our Behavioral Ecophysics lab focuses on the study of organismal mechanisms (e.g., physiology, biomechanics) in light of biotic and abiotic interactions, with the goal of establishing explicit links between physical laws and rules of life, from individual to ecological scales. A central challenge of biological studies is to describe functional links between underlying architecture (e.g., genotype, phenotype) and emergent phenomena (e.g., performance, ecological patterns). To meet this challenge, it is necessary to identify and quantify causal relationships between variation in traits, such as wing and bill shape, and corresponding capabilities, such as cost of flight and feeding, of their possessors. Having this information allows us to unveil the connections between these capabilities and realized patterns (e.g., resource use, competition strategies), and thus their ecological and evolutionary implications. In this sense, nectar-feeding animals stand out as ideal study organisms because scientists have studied the details of their biology, ecology, and evolution for many years. The way in which they find, access, and intake nectar (their efficiency, preferences, and limits) will determine their peaks and ranges of maximal performance on several environmental axes. For this reason, increasing our knowledge of aspects such as nectarivore physiological requirements, nectar-feeding mechanics, and energetics of floral visitation, will have profound implications for understanding and predicting foraging behaviors and ecophysical responses, as testable biological rules.

Virtual/Guyot 10
Open to the public.

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