Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 411652
Title Energy advantages of orientation to solar radiation in three African ruminants
Author(s) Hetem, R.S.; Maartin Strauss, W.; Heusinkveld, B.G.; Bie, S. de; Prins, H.H.T.; Wieren, S.E. van
Source Journal of Thermal Biology 36 (2011)7. - ISSN 0306-4565 - p. 452 - 460.
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jtherbio.2011.07.012
Department(s) Meteorology and Air Quality
Resource Ecology
PE&RC
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2011
Keyword(s) grazing winter range - behavioral thermoregulation - magnetic alignment - black wildebeest - body orientation - thermal balance - heat gain - cattle - temperature - sun
Abstract Animal orientation relative to incident solar radiation allows an animal to effectively adjust the amount of radiant heat gained from an environment. Yet recent literature found ruminants to primarily orientate north/south and proposed magnetic alignment as the most parsimonious explanation. To test whether such northerly orientation has an energy advantage, we used heated cylindrical models to estimate energy costs of thermoregulation associated with north and east orientations of three species of African ruminants under cool winter conditions. Concurrent behavioural observations revealed that eland, blue wildebeest and impala did not preferentially orientate north/south during warm summer or cool winter conditions. Instead, all three species preferred to orientate perpendicular to incident solar radiation during winter and parallel to incident solar radiation during summer, throughout the day. On clear winter days with little wind, more than 60% of animal orientation preference could be accounted for by the energy savings associated with that orientation. Thus energy demands are likely to be the primary driver of animal orientation preferences.
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