At times, time budget analyses can seem a little obvious. For example, mallard ducklings, Anas platyrhynchos, shift their time budget depending on how rich or poor their foraging area is in resources. Ducklings in resource poor lakes spend more time in movement, presumably searhing for food resources (Nummi et al. 2000). It doesn't surprise us that hungry animals look for food, but consider this question from a different point of view: by observing the behavior of the ducklings, ecologists can infer much about the environmental conditions under which they live.

In grey seals, Halichoerus grypus, Caudron et al. (2001) found that animals breeding topographically marginal habitats spent substantially more time in the water during breeding season. This time budget shift, driven by environmental necessity, affects energetic balance, mating behavior, and reproductive investment.

Caudron AK, Joiris CR, Ruwet JC 2001 Comparative activity budget among grey seal (Halichoerus grypus) breeding colonies - the importance of marginal populations Mammalia 65 (3): 373-382

Nummi P, Sjoberg K, Poysa H, Elmberg J 2000 . Individual foraging behaviour indicates resource limitation: an experiment with mallard ducklings CAN J ZOOL 78 (11): 1891-1895

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copyright © 2002 Michael D. Breed, all rights reserved