Meeting Abstract

24.1  Friday, Jan. 4  Toward a spatially-explicit thermal ecology: predicting activity from the dispersal of individuals through thermally-structured landscapes SEARS, MW; Clemson

An ongoing challenge for ecologists is to predict the responses of organisms to changing climates. Process-based modeling approaches that incorporate physiological and behavioral mechanisms are rapidly becoming powerful tools to make such predictions. Key to these approaches are understanding the biophysical constraints on activity budgets. Typically, models assume an all-or-nothing approach where, as long as environmental temperatures overlap individual preferences, all individuals in a population are active and accrue (or lose) energy from the environment. Due to the thermal heterogeneity of many environments, such responses of activity by all individuals are not possible. Here, I demonstrate how activity patterns can be generated by the movements of individuals under thermoregulatory constraint and how these models predict activity similar to that observed in natural populations. Further, results will be contrasted with those predicted by other modeling approaches to note the potential pitfalls when small scale environmental heterogeneity is not considered.