New Insights into the Behavioural Ecology of Mammals

A special issue of Biology (ISSN 2079-7737). This special issue belongs to the section "Behavioural Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 1823

Special Issue Editors

Centre for Functional Ecology (CFE), TERRA Associate Laboratory, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra, 3000-456 Coimbra, Portugal
Interests: behavioural ecology; mammal ecology; conservation behaviour; wildlife ecology and behaviour; wildlife management
Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Urumqi 830011, China
Interests: behavioural ecology; conservation biology; road ecology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada
Interests: behavioural ecology; animal behaviour; conservation biology; wildlife ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Human overpopulation and the overexploitation of natural resources are causing climate change, habitat degradation, and a major decline in biodiversity, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). One of humanity's most critical challenges is to reverse this trend, which leads to challenges in terms of refining conservation and management tools to counteract human-made pressure on the integrity and ecology of wildlife populations and ecosystems. It is more crucial than ever to recognize that preserving biodiversity is the only way to keep ecosystems functioning and capable of providing all the services that we rely on. To achieve this, we must preserve all the components of biodiversity, including animal behaviour, as the inability to behaviourally adjust to a changing world may contribute to or be the cause of species extinction.

Even though the need to incorporate behavioural ecology into conservation and management has been recognised for the last two decades, the realisation of this task is still lacking. Behavioural ecology helps us understand how man-made pressures affect mammal species and what steps can be taken to mitigate them. In fact, sexual selection, sexual segregation, and grouping behaviour are key aspects of behavioural ecology, but their practical applicability in wildlife management is mostly ignored.

Only recently have we become aware of the importance of acknowledging sexual differences in behaviour for population ecology and conservation. Understanding animal behaviour and reproductive patterns is crucial to comprehending the dynamics and viability of wildlife populations. As such, we are pleased to invite you to submit works tackling how populations react to environmental change, habitat fragmentation, and human pressure, but also how males and females differ in their responses towards these impacts and other environmental characteristics. In many species, males and females have different ecological strategies that should be evaluated to better understand sex-specific requirements, informing conservationists and managers of factors such as sexual differences in behaviour, mate choice, mating strategies, sex-specific habitat requirements, and feeding behaviour that are connected to sexual segregation and, in turn, affect population growth, viability, and persistence.

In this Special Issue, we welcome all contributions (original research articles and reviews) focusing on new insights into the behavioural ecology of mammals, including (but not limited to) social organization, grouping behaviour, reproductive behaviour, habitat use and selection, foraging and vigilance, and anti-predator strategies, among others, as well as their implications for mammals’ conservation and management.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Dr. Joana Alves
Dr. Muyang Wang
Prof. Dr. Kathreen E. Ruckstuhl
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • behavioural ecology
  • mammal ecology
  • conservation behaviour
  • wildlife management
  • sexual differences in behaviour
  • grouping behaviour
  • reproductive strategies
  • foraging behaviour
  • habitat selection

Published Papers (1 paper)

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13 pages, 2518 KiB  
Differences in the Diets of Female and Male Red Deer: The Meaning for Sexual Segregation
Biology 2023, 12(4), 540; - 31 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1353
Sexual segregation is a common phenomenon among animals, particularly dimorphic ones. Although widely addressed, the reasons and consequences of sexual segregation are still an important topic in need of better understanding. In this study, we mainly evaluate the diet composition and feeding behaviour [...] Read more.
Sexual segregation is a common phenomenon among animals, particularly dimorphic ones. Although widely addressed, the reasons and consequences of sexual segregation are still an important topic in need of better understanding. In this study, we mainly evaluate the diet composition and feeding behaviour of animals, which are related to the use of different habitats by the sexes, a special case of sexual segregation also termed habitat segregation. Sexually size dimorphic males and females often have different energetic and nutritional needs and, thus, different diets. We collected fresh faecal samples from wild Iberian red deer (Cervus elaphus L.) in Portugal. Samples were analysed in terms of diet composition and quality. As expected, both sexes differed in their diet composition, with males eating more arboreous species than females, but this difference was affected by sampling periods. Diet composition of both sexes had the biggest differences (and the lowest overlap) in spring, which corresponds to the end of gestation and beginning of birth. These differences might be a consequence of the sexual body size dimorphism characteristic of this species, as well as of different needs due to different reproductive costs. No differences regarding the quality of the excreted diet were observed. Our results may help to understand some patterns of sexual segregation observed in this red deer population. However, besides foraging ecology, other factors may also be contributing to sexual segregation in this Mediterranean population of red deer, and further studies focusing on sexual differences regarding feeding behaviour and digestibility are needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Insights into the Behavioural Ecology of Mammals)
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