Audio_3_Use of Acceleration and Acoustics to Classify Behavior, Generate Time Budgets, and Evaluate Responses to Moonlight in Free-Ranging Snowshoe Ha.WAV (1.26 MB)
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Audio_3_Use of Acceleration and Acoustics to Classify Behavior, Generate Time Budgets, and Evaluate Responses to Moonlight in Free-Ranging Snowshoe Hares.WAV

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posted on 08.05.2019, 11:33 authored by Emily K. Studd, Melanie R. Boudreau, Yasmine N. Majchrzak, Allyson K. Menzies, Michael J. L. Peers, Jacob L. Seguin, Sophia G. Lavergne, Rudy Boonstra, Dennis L. Murray, Stan Boutin, Murray M. Humphries

Technological miniaturization is driving a biologging revolution that is producing detailed and sophisticated techniques of assessing individual behavioral responses to environmental conditions. Among the many advancements this revolution has brought is an ability to record behavioral responses of nocturnal, free-ranging species. Here, we combine captive validations of acceleration signatures with acoustic recordings from free-ranging individuals to classify behavior at two resolutions. Combining these classifications with ~2 month-long recordings, we describe winter time budgets, and responses of free-ranging snowshoe hares to changing moonlight. We successfully classified snowshoe hare behavior into four categories (not moving, foraging, hopping, and sprinting) using low frequency accelerometry, with an overall model accuracy of 88%, and acoustic recordings to three categories (silence, hopping, and chewing) with an accuracy of 94%. Broad-scale accelerometer-classified categories were composed of multiple fine-scale behavioral states with the composition varying between individuals and across the day. Time budgets revealed that hares spent ~50% of their time foraging and ~50% not moving, with most foraging and feeding occurring at night. We found that hares adjusted timing of activity in response to moon phase, with a 6% reduction in foraging and 30% reduction in traveling during the night when the moon was full. Hares compensated for this lost foraging time by extending foraging into the morning hours of the following day. Using two biologging technologies to identify behavior, we demonstrate the possibility of combining multiple devices when documenting behavior of cryptic species.

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