Food for Thought - Does cognition shape foraging efficiency in a Neotropical frugivore guild?

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Rasmus Worsøe Havmøller


DKK 425,000




Internationalisation Fellowships


The Food for Thought projects aims to understand how an animal remembers where food resources are located, and at what time they are available on a multi-individual and multi-species level. While brain size is generally considered an advantage for spatio-temporal cognition, it is unknown if this leads to "planning-ahead" foraging strategies, and whether large brained animals are more efficient forages to smaller brained animal that uses eg. random or route-based foraging strategies is unknown.


For decades, much of behavioural ecology has been based on direct observations, that had limited sample sizes and observer presence could potentially change the study subjects' behaviour. The newest GPS-collars allow for a high number of individuals being studied simultaneously without observer bias to much greater details than ever before.


The Food for Thought project aims to study the foraging patterns of seven different neo-tropical mammal frugivores (white-faced capuchin, Central-American spider monkey, Baird's tapir, collared peccary, paca, kinkajou, and Central-American coati) using state of the art high-resolution GPS technology combined with accelerometers, to understand if large brained mammals are more efficient forages, both in terms of energy usage and foraging strategies to smaller brained mammals, in a season where just one food resource which all the species are relying on is available.

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