On the basis of calculations of energy use associated with traversing sloped terrain by such large animals, the researchers found that this behavior is likely related to the fact that even minor hills represent a considerable energy barrier for elephants because of the added calorie consumption required for such movements. The findings are reported by Fritz Vollrath of the University of Oxford and elephant experts Jake Wall and Iain Douglas-Hamilton of Save the Elephants, and appear in the July 25th issue of Current Biology, published by Cell Press.
Understanding the factors that determine locations of elephant density hot-spots and use corridors is critical in helping to secure safe niches for elephants in the face of growing human encroachment on elephants' native habitat. In their study of elephant movements, the authors focused on the Samburu/Isiolo/Laikipia districts in northern Kenya, which represent an area of about 32,000 square kilometers of mostly unprotected habitat. This range is home to about 5,400 elephants.
In the course of studying the influences of a range of environmental factors on elephant movement, the authors found that elephant density dropped off significantly with increasing hill slopes. While this effect may well involve such factors as risks of injury and overheating, or lack of water, the authors' calculations of the energy required for elephants to traverse sloped terrain indicate that the energetic costs of such movement could be a main factor influencing this behavioral tendency. For example, the authors calculate that climbing 100 meters would "burn" energy that would take an extra half hour of foraging to replace--or would need to be paid for by expenditure of body reserves. In light of their calculations, the authors point out in the paper that "clearly, climbing is something that an elephant should not do lightly, but should weigh very carefully."
On the basis of their findings, the authors suggest that large animals probably take a rather different view of their surroundings than do lightweight animals, and that this is probably especially true of heavyweight animals, like elephants, that are herbivores, for whom energy replenishment can be especially time consuming.
Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel
Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
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23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy