Wiline Pangle, PhD 2008
I am broadly interested in antipredator behavior of mammals, and particularly of large carnivores. Mammalian carnivores have rarely been taken into consideration in vigilance studies since they are usually considered the predators, not the prey. However , carnivores rarely die of old age, and encounter serious threats in their environment, both by other carnivores and by human persecution. Thus a major lacuna exists in the literature documenting antipredator behavior of those large carnivores. Filling this gap in the literature would not only allow comparisons of vigilance levels among carnivores, but also with mammals of comparable body mass at lower levels of the trophic cascade.
My research focuses on carnivores of East Africa, and particularly the spotted hyena. More specifically, I am comparing levels of vigilance in various East African carnivores feeding at a kill, looking at predictors of vigilance. In addition, I am documenting the antipredator behaviors of hyenas in various contexts such while feeding on a kill or resting at the communal den. I am particularly interested in documenting how those behaviors (vigilance, fleein g, mobbing) vary with age (both developmental stages and actual age ). Part of this research will be descriptive and observation-based, and part will be experimental in order to manipulate the risk level perceived by the hyenas. This will be done using playbacks of lion roars or hyena rumbles.
trouillo [at] msu.edu