Small actions, big costs: the behavioural energetics of a commercially important invertebrate

A. A. Robson, L. Chauvaud, R. P. Wilson, L. G. Halsey
  • Journal of The Royal Society Interface, January 2012, Royal Society Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2011.0713

Behavioural energetics of a commercial invertebrate

What is it about?

Scallops are not known for their active lifestyles. Yet our research shows that because they have low background metabolic rates, each movement they make represents a big energetic cost. Farmed scallops had higher daily metabolic rates than scallops in the wild because anthropogenic disturbance around the hatcheries triggers movement. Minimising such disturbance could increase growth rates of farmed scallops by reducing unnecessary, costly movements and increasing the time available for feeding.

Why is it important?

The daily time spent active and inactive are key factors in animal ecology and they have important energetic consequences. However, relatively little is known about the behavioural time budgets and associated metabolism of many animals, particularly for small ectotherms. We present the most detailed behaviour and energetics data yet obtained for an animal, using the accelerometry technique. This technique continues to increase our fundamental and applied knowledge about animal ecology.

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The following have contributed to this page: Dr Anthony Robson