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广西快三开奖app:Migrating whales depend on memory to exploit reliable resources
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Animal migrations, which can span hundreds to thousands of kilometers and require journeys lasting weeks to months, are fascinating biological phenomena. Across systems and species, key questions focus on the behavioral mechanisms that facilitate successful migrations. Perception, information sharing among individuals, and various forms of memory separate migration from other forms of animal movement, such as range residency and nomadism (1?–3). However, almost all explorations of these navigation factors have been in terrestrial systems (4???–8). Understanding when, and in what kinds of resource landscapes, different navigation factors provide value remains a core challenge. In PNAS, Abrahms et al. (9) combine a decade’s worth of satellite tracking and remote sensing data to analyze migration patterns of blue whales (Balaenoptera musculus), discovering evidence for memory-based movement that allows the whales to match their distributions to reliable resource peaks.
For some migratory species, the phenology (biological timing) of arrival at a particular destination, such as a nesting site or calving grounds, is paramount. In other species, particularly those for which migrations are of long duration, the timing of events along the entire route is critical, such as when migration facilitates regular access to fleetingly available resources (10, 11). Systems in which the timing matters throughout the migratory journey, such as the whales studied by Abrahms et al. (9), present excellent opportunities for testing the relative importance of different movement mechanisms.
Migration is favored as an evolutionary strategy if the net fitness benefits that accrue from recurrent movement exceed those from remaining resident in one region (3, 12). Among mammal species, such fitness benefits hinge on spatial variation in resource availability, physiological constraints, or escape from natural enemies (13). Migration is selected for when seasonality, rather than patchiness, dominates resource availability (3), and memory-based …