Balancing biomechanical constraints: optimal escape speeds when there is a trade-off between speed and maneuverability

Clemente, C. J. and Wilson, R. S. (2015). Balancing biomechanical constraints: optimal escape speeds when there is a trade-off between speed and maneuverability. In: Towards a General Framework for Predicting Animal Movement Speeds in Nature, West Palm Beach, Florida, (1142-1154). 3-7 January 2015. doi:10.1093/icb/icv103


Author Clemente, C. J.
Wilson, R. S.
Title of paper Balancing biomechanical constraints: optimal escape speeds when there is a trade-off between speed and maneuverability
Conference name Towards a General Framework for Predicting Animal Movement Speeds in Nature
Conference location West Palm Beach, Florida
Conference dates 3-7 January 2015
Convener Wilson, Robbie S.
Journal name Integrative and Comparative Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
Place of Publication Oxford, United Kingdom
Publisher Oxford University Press
Publication Year 2015
Year available 2015
Sub-type Fully published paper
DOI 10.1093/icb/icv103
Open Access Status Not Open Access
ISSN 1557-7023
1540-7063
Volume 55
Issue 6
Start page 1142
End page 1154
Total pages 13
Collection year 2016
Language eng
Abstract/Summary The ability for prey to escape a pursuing predator is dependent both on the prey’s speed away from the threat and on their ability to rapidly change directions, or maneuverability. Given that the biomechanical trade-off between speed and maneuverability limits the simultaneous maximization of both performance traits, animals should not select their fastest possible speeds when running away from a pursuing predator but rather a speed that maximizes the probability of successful escape. We explored how variation in the relationship between speed and maneuverability—or the shape of the trade-off—affects the optimal choice of speed for escaping predators. We used tablet-based games that simulated interactions between predators and prey (human subjects acting as predators attempting to capture “prey” moving across a screen). By defining a specific relationship between speed and maneuverability, we could test the survival of each of the possible behavioral choices available to this phenotype, i.e., the best combination of speed and maneuverability for prey fitness, based on their ability to escape. We found that the shape of the trade-off function affected the prey’s optimal speed for success in escaping, the prey’s maximum performance in escaping, and the breadth of speeds over which the prey’s performance was high. The optimal speed for escape varied only when the trade-off between speed and maneuverability was non-linear. Phenotypes possessing trade-off functions for which maneuverability was only compromised at high speeds exhibited lower optimal speeds. Phenotypes that exhibited greater increases in maneuverability for any decrease in speed were more likely to have broader ranges of performance, meaning that individuals could attain their maximum performance across a broader range of speeds. We also found that there was a differential response of the subject’s learning to these different components of locomotion. With increased experience through repeated trials, subjects were able to successfully catch faster and faster dots. However, no improvement was observed in the subject’s ability to capture more maneuverable prey. Our work highlights the costs of high-speed movement on other traits, including maneuverability, which make the use of an animal’s fastest speeds unlikely, even when attempting to escape predators. By investigating the shape of the trade-off functions between speed and maneuverability and the way the environment and morphology mediates this trade-off, we can begin to understand why animals choose to move at the speeds they do when they are running away from predators or attempting to capture prey.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Conference Paper
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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