Experiments have shown that interspecific interactions within consumer guilds can alter patterns of distribution, abundance and size of species. Plastic behavioural responses can be modulated by agonistic interactions. In many cases, consumers compete for space and shelters, and these interactions change the manner in which they exploit food. This study investigates the consequences of competition in the spatial and temporal organization of behaviour of intertidal grazers, which share algal resources and the use of rock crevices while resting, but exhibit different body sizes, spatial behaviour and foraging modes. We evaluate interaction strength between small gregarious Siphonaria lessoni and the larger territorial keyhole limpet Fissurella crassa and between S. lessoni and the medium-size gregarious chiton Chiton granosus. Using field manipulations and artificial arenas in the laboratory, we tested whether the use of crevices, micro-spatial distribution and activity are modified by the density of conspecifics and the presence of heterospecifics. Our results show that small-scale spatial segregation observed in the field between S. lessoni and C. granosus result from species-specific differences in habitat use. In turn, we found evidence that spatial segregation between F. crassa and S. lessoni results from highly asymmetric interference competition in the use of shelters. The presence of F. crassa reduced the use of crevices and growth rates of S. lessoni. Effects on growth rates are assumed to result from exposure to harsh environmental conditions rather than food limitation. Thus, neither gregarious behaviour nor differences in activity were sufficient to prevent competition with the larger grazer. Our study illustrates the importance of competition for shelters, which results in behavioural changes of the smaller-sized species, and how these plastic responses can translate into differences in growth rates. Use of shelters can thus be modulated by environmental conditions in a species-specific as well as an interactive manner within consumers' guilds.
The increased number of trips and competitions scheduled in the international agonistic calendars meets commercial demands while acting as a source of stress for the athletes. A model, developed in biathlons to monitor the so-called competition load, revealed an upward trend over time. The aim of this study was to evaluate, in a 21-year period, the effects of the International Biathlon Union’s rescheduling of the competitive calendars to control the competition load, as well as its stability over time and the economic impact of this intervention.
Exercising in the heat induces thermoregulatory and other physiological strain that can lead to impairments in endurance exercise capacity. The purpose of this consensus statement is to provide up-to-date recommendations to optimize performance during sporting activities undertaken in hot ambient conditions. The most important intervention one can adopt to reduce physiological strain and optimize performance is to heat acclimatize. Heat acclimatization should comprise repeated exercise-heat exposures over 1-2 weeks. In addition, athletes should initiate competition and training in an euhydrated state and minimize dehydration during exercise. Following the development of commercial cooling systems (e.g., cooling vests), athletes can implement cooling strategies to facilitate heat loss or increase heat storage capacity before training or competing in the heat. Moreover, event organizers should plan for large shaded areas, along with cooling and rehydration facilities, and schedule events in accordance with minimizing the health risks of athletes, especially in mass participation events and during the first hot days of the year. Following the recent examples of the 2008 Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, sport governing bodies should consider allowing additional (or longer) recovery periods between and during events for hydration and body cooling opportunities when competitions are held in the heat.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published about 2 years ago
This article investigates the factors that escalate competition into dangerous conflict. Recent sociological theorizing claims that such escalations are particularly likely in dyads of structurally equivalent people (i.e., actors who have the same relations with the same third parties). Using panel data on Formula One races from 1970 through 2014, we model the probability that two drivers collide on the racetrack (an observable trace of conflict) as a function of their structural equivalence in a dynamic network of competitive relationships. Our main hypothesis, that the likelihood of conflict rises with structural equivalence, receives empirical support. Our findings also show that the positive association between structural equivalence and conflict is neither merely a matter of contention for official position nor an artifact of inherently hostile parties spatially exposed to each other. Our analyses further reveal that this positive association is concentrated in a number of theoretically predictable conditions: among age-similar dyads, among stronger performers, in stable competitive networks, and in safe, rather than dangerous, weather conditions. Implications for future research on conflict, networks, and tournaments are discussed.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
- Published about 4 years ago
Archaeologists argue that the replacement of Neanderthals by modern humans was driven by interspecific competition due to a difference in culture level. To assess the cogency of this argument, we construct and analyze an interspecific cultural competition model based on the Lotka-Volterra model, which is widely used in ecology, but which incorporates the culture level of a species as a variable interacting with population size. We investigate the conditions under which a difference in culture level between cognitively equivalent species, or alternatively a difference in underlying learning ability, may produce competitive exclusion of a comparatively (although not absolutely) large local Neanderthal population by an initially smaller modern human population. We find, in particular, that this competitive exclusion is more likely to occur when population growth occurs on a shorter timescale than cultural change, or when the competition coefficients of the Lotka-Volterra model depend on the difference in the culture levels of the interacting species.
Plants can plastically respond to light competition in three strategies, comprising vertical growth, which promotes competitive dominance; shade tolerance, which maximises performance under shade; or lateral growth, which offers avoidance of competition. Here, we test the hypothesis that plants can ‘choose’ between these responses, according to their abilities to competitively overcome their neighbours. We study this hypothesis in the clonal plant Potentilla reptans using an experimental setup that simulates both the height and density of neighbours, thus presenting plants with different light-competition scenarios. Potentilla reptans ramets exhibit the highest vertical growth under simulated short-dense neighbours, highest specific leaf area (leaf area/dry mass) under tall-dense neighbours, and tend to increase total stolon length under tall-sparse neighbours. These responses suggest shifts between ‘confrontational’ vertical growth, shade tolerance and lateral-avoidance, respectively, and provide evidence that plants adopt one of several alternative plastic responses in a way that optimally corresponds to prevailing light-competition scenarios.
- Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society
- Published almost 5 years ago
Cooperation is thought to be highly dependent on tolerance. For example, it has been suggested that dog-human cooperation has been enabled by selecting dogs for increased tolerance and reduced aggression during the course of domestication (‘emotional reactivity hypothesis’). However, based on observations of social interactions among members of captive packs, a few dog-wolf comparisons found contradictory results. In this study, we compared intraspecies aggression and tolerance of dogs and wolves raised and kept under identical conditions by investigating their agonistic behaviours and cofeeding during pair-wise food competition tests, a situation that has been directly linked to cooperation. We found that in wolves, dominant and subordinate members of the dyads monopolized the food and showed agonistic behaviours to a similar extent, whereas in dogs these behaviours were privileges of the high-ranking individuals. The fact that subordinate dogs rarely challenged their higher-ranking partners suggests a steeper dominance hierarchy in dogs than in wolves. Finally, wolves as well as dogs showed only rare and weak aggression towards each other. Therefore, we suggest that wolves are sufficiently tolerant to enable wolf-wolf cooperation, which in turn might have been the basis for the evolution of dog-human cooperation (canine cooperation hypothesis).
Exercising in the heat induces thermoregulatory and other physiological strain that can lead to impairments in endurance exercise capacity. The purpose of this consensus statement is to provide up-to-date recommendations to optimise performance during sporting activities undertaken in hot ambient conditions. The most important intervention one can adopt to reduce physiological strain and optimise performance is to heat acclimatise. Heat acclimatisation should comprise repeated exercise-heat exposures over 1-2 weeks. In addition, athletes should initiate competition and training in a euhydrated state and minimise dehydration during exercise. Following the development of commercial cooling systems (eg, cooling-vest), athletes can implement cooling strategies to facilitate heat loss or increase heat storage capacity before training or competing in the heat. Moreover, event organisers should plan for large shaded areas, along with cooling and rehydration facilities, and schedule events in accordance with minimising the health risks of athletes, especially in mass participation events and during the first hot days of the year. Following the recent examples of the 2008 Olympics and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, sport governing bodies should consider allowing additional (or longer) recovery periods between and during events, for hydration and body cooling opportunities, when competitions are held in the heat.
- Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
- Published almost 5 years ago
Bodybuilding competitions are becoming increasingly popular. Competitors are judged on their aesthetic appearance and usually exhibit a high level of muscularity and symmetry and low levels of body fat. Commonly used techniques to improve physique during the preparation phase before competitions include dehydration, periods of prolonged fasting, severe caloric restriction, excessive cardiovascular exercise and inappropriate use of diuretics and anabolic steroids. In contrast, this case study documents a structured nutrition and conditioning intervention followed by a 21 year-old amateur bodybuilding competitor to improve body composition, resting and exercise fat oxidation, and muscular strength that does not involve use of any of the above mentioned methods. Over a 14-week period, the Athlete was provided with a scientifically designed nutrition and conditioning plan that encouraged him to (i) consume a variety of foods; (ii) not neglect any macronutrient groups; (iii) exercise regularly but not excessively and; (iv) incorporate rest days into his conditioning regime. This strategy resulted in a body mass loss of 11.7 kg’s, corresponding to a 6.7 kg reduction in fat mass and a 5.0 kg reduction in fat-free mass. Resting metabolic rate decreased from 1993 kcal/d to 1814 kcal/d, whereas resting fat oxidation increased from 0.04 g/min to 0.06 g/min. His capacity to oxidize fat during exercise increased more than two-fold from 0.24 g/min to 0.59 g/min, while there was a near 3-fold increase in the corresponding exercise intensity that elicited the maximal rate of fat oxidation; 21% V̇O2max to 60% V̇O2max. Hamstring concentric peak torque decreased (1.7 to 1.5 Nm/kg), whereas hamstring eccentric (2.0 Nm/kg to 2.9 Nm/kg), quadriceps concentric (3.4 Nm/kg to 3.7 Nm/kg) and quadriceps eccentric (4.9 Nm/kg to 5.7 Nm/kg) peak torque all increased. Psychological mood-state (BRUMS scale) was not negatively influenced by the intervention and all values relating to the Athlete’s mood-state remained below average over the course of study. This intervention shows that a structured and scientifically supported nutrition strategy can be implemented to improve parameters relevant to bodybuilding competition and importantly the health of competitors, therefore questioning the conventional practices of bodybuilding preparation.
Megaherbivorous dinosaur coexistence on the Late Cretaceous island continent of Laramidia has long puzzled researchers, owing to the mystery of how so many large herbivores (6-8 sympatric species, in many instances) could coexist on such a small (4-7 million km(2)) landmass. Various explanations have been put forth, one of which-dietary niche partitioning-forms the focus of this study. Here, we apply traditional morphometric methods to the skulls of megaherbivorous dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (upper Campanian) of Alberta to infer the ecomorphology of these animals and to test the niche partitioning hypothesis. We find evidence for niche partitioning not only among contemporaneous ankylosaurs, ceratopsids, and hadrosaurids, but also within these clades at the family and subfamily levels. Consubfamilial ceratopsids and hadrosaurids differ insignificantly in their inferred ecomorphologies, which may explain why they rarely overlap stratigraphically: interspecific competition prevented their coexistence.