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Variation in resting strategies across trophic levels and habitats in mammals

Cite this dataset

Beltran, Roxanne; Shukla, Ishana; Kilpatrick, A. Marm (2022). Variation in resting strategies across trophic levels and habitats in mammals [Dataset]. Dryad.


Mammals must carefully balance rest with other behaviors that influence fitness (e.g., foraging, finding a mate) while minimizing predation risk. However, factors influencing resting strategies and the degree to which resting strategies are driven by the activities of predators and/or prey remain largely unknown. Our goal was to examine how mammalian resting strategies varied with trophic level, body mass, and habitat. We reviewed findings from 127 publications and classified the resting strategies of terrestrial and aquatic mammalian species into three categories: social (e.g., resting in groups), temporal (e.g., resting during the day), or spatial (e.g., resting in burrows). Temporal strategies were most common (54% of cases), but the prevalence of strategies varied with body mass and among trophic levels. Specifically, lower trophic levels and smaller species such as rodents and lagomorphs used more spatial and social resting strategies whereas top predators and larger species used mostly temporal resting strategies. Resting strategies also varied among habitat types (e.g., rainforest versus grassland) but this was primarily because closely related species shared both habitats and resting strategies. Human presence also affected resting strategies at all trophic levels but most strongly influenced top predators through shifts in rest timing. Human-induced behavioral changes in rest patterns cascade to modify behaviors across multiple trophic levels. These findings advance our fundamental understanding of natural history and ecology in wild animals and provide a roadmap for future comparative studies.