Malachi Whitford

Malachi Whitford
San Diego State University | SDSU · Department of Biology

Ph.D. in Ecology

About

21
Publications
6,317
Reads
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198
Citations
Introduction
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
San Diego State University
Position
  • Herpetology-Teaching assistant
August 2017 - December 2017
San Diego State University
Position
  • Biostats-Teaching assistant
August 2015 - December 2015
San Diego State University
Position
  • Univariate Statistical Methods-Teaching assistant
Education
August 2015 - May 2020
San Diego State University
Field of study
  • Ecology
August 2013 - May 2015
Humboldt State University
Field of study
  • Ecology

Publications

Publications (21)
Article
Full-text available
Predators that feed on dangerous prey species must evolve mechanisms to reduce the likelihood of injury or death during a predation attempt. Scorpions are prime examples of dangerous prey items for insectivores, because they can inflict a venomous and potentially fatal sting when attacked. Despite this risk, the western banded gecko (Coleonyx varie...
Article
Full-text available
Body size is a key factor that influences antipredator behavior. For animals that rely on jumping to escape from predators, there is a theoretical trade-off between jump distance and acceleration as body size changes at both the inter- and intraspecific levels. Assuming geometric similarity, acceleration will decrease with increasing body size due...
Article
Full-text available
Predator-prey interactions often lead to the coevolution of adaptations associated with avoiding predation and, for predators, overcoming those defenses. Antagonistic coevolutionary relationships are often not simple interactions between a single predator and prey but rather a complex web of interactions between multiple coexisting species. Coevolu...
Article
Full-text available
The outcomes of predator-prey interactions between endotherms and ectotherms can be heavily influenced by environmental temperature, owing to the difference in how body temperature affects locomotor performance. However, as elastic energy storage mechanisms can allow ectotherms to maintain high levels of performance at cooler body temperatures, det...
Article
Full-text available
Movements of ectotherms are constrained by their body temperature due to the effects of temperature on muscle physiology. As physical performance often affects the outcome of predator-prey interactions, environmental temperature can influence the ability of ectotherms to capture prey and/or defend themselves against predators. However, previous res...
Article
Full-text available
Background The ability to remotely monitor the behavior of animals and their interactions with their environment has revolutionized how ecologists conduct studies. The creative use and placement of sensors on both biologging and biotelemetric platforms can greatly expand the amount of information that can be garnered from ecological studies. Resul...
Article
Full-text available
Upon sensing predators in their vicinity, many prey species perform antipredator displays that are thought to provide information to the predator that deters it from attacking (predator‐deterrent signals). These displays can be complex, incorporating a variety of signaling elements as well as direct physical harassment of the predator. Although the...
Article
Full-text available
1. The selection pressures that arise from capturing prey and avoiding predators are some of the strongest biotic forces shaping animal form and function. Examining how performance (i.e., athletic ability) affects the outcomes of encounters be- tween free-ranging predators and prey is essential for understanding the determinants of predation succes...
Article
Full-text available
Many animals exhibit morphological specializations driven by the extreme selective pressure of predation, and understanding how such specializations shape escape behaviours can elucidate the evolutionary context of these morphologies. We examined the kinematics of the evasive leaps of desert kangaroo rats (Dipodomys deserti) during strikes from sid...
Article
Full-text available
Many animals exhibit morphological specializations driven by the extreme selective pressure of predation, and understanding how such specializations shape escape behaviours can elucidate the evolutionary context of these morphologies. We examined the kinematics of the evasive leaps of desert kangaroo rats (Dipodomys deserti) during strikes from sid...
Article
Full-text available
When predators rely on high-speed movements to capture prey, prey often exhibit traits that result in correspondingly extreme physical performance. Biomechanical studies of these interactions are typically conducted in laboratory settings, thereby eliminating some of the ecological context. We studied how behavioural state, specifically vigilance l...
Article
Full-text available
Many species perform complex antipredator displays that deter attacks by informing predators that continued attempts at prey capture will be costly. However, because of the difficulties in studying the behaviour of free-ranging predators, we have a limited understanding of how predators respond to those signals. Here, we took advantage of our abili...
Article
Full-text available
Predation plays a central role in the lives of most organisms. Predators must find and subdue prey to survive and reproduce, whereas prey must avoid predators to do the same. The resultant antagonistic coevolution often leads to extreme adaptations in both parties. Few examples capture the imagination like a rapid strike from a venomous snake. Howe...
Article
Full-text available
Several lineages of small mammals frequently preyed upon by snakes have evolved snake-specific signals and displays that they use in an attempt to deter predation. Although detailed studies have been conducted on the form and function of these behaviors in a few key species, limited work has been done that directly compares behaviors between specie...

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