Data from: Biophysical modeling of the temporal niche: from first principles to the evolution of activity patterns
Levy, Ofir; Dayan, Tamar; Kronfeld-Schor, Noga; Porter, Warren P. (2012), Data from: Biophysical modeling of the temporal niche: from first principles to the evolution of activity patterns, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.d2r5027j
Most mammals can be characterized as nocturnal or diurnal. However infrequently, species may overcome evolutionary constraints and alter their activity patterns. We modeled the fundamental temporal niche of a diurnal desert rodent, the golden spiny mouse, Acomys russatus. This species can shift into nocturnal activity in the absence of its congener, the common spiny mouse, A. cahirinus, suggesting that it was competitively driven into diurnality, and that this shift in a small desert rodent may involve physiological costs. Therefore, we compared metabolic costs of diurnal vs. nocturnal activity using a biophysical model to evaluate the preferred temporal niche of this species. The model predicted that energy expenditure during foraging is almost always lower during the day except during mid-day in summer at the less sheltered microhabitat. We also found that a shift in summer to foraging in less sheltered microhabitats in response to predation pressure and food availability involves a significant physiological cost moderated by midday reduction in activity. Thus adaptation to diurnality may reflect the 'ghost of competition past'; Climate-driven diurnality is an alternative but less likely hypothesis. While climate is considered to play a major role in the physiology and evolution of mammals, this is the first study to model its effect on the evolution of activity patterns of mammals.