What’s your move? The ecological influence of personality-dependent space-use patterns in animals
In ecology we often try to answer questions about the processes that determine population dynamics, and interactions between individuals within or between species (e.g., competition for resources and predator – prey dynamics, respectively). The way animals move and use their surrounding is fundamental to many of these processes, with movements scaling up from local searches within a foraging bout, through the home ranges they maintain, to their lifetime tracks.
Individuals may differ in their behaviors, and show consistently different responses in various contexts. These differences (e.g. in boldness in a risky habitat or in aggressiveness to conspecifics) are often termed ‘behavioral types’ or ‘animal personalities’. It is well known that animals of different personalities may also differ in their tendency to disperse from their natal area. Yet, although for many species dispersal is the longest movement they will do, it is typically also very short with respect to the animal’s life. We know less about how individuals with different personalities differ in other movements, or how such differences affect ecological processes. For instance, understanding these topics better can provide insights into disease spread (e.g., who are the superspreaders? Do they move differently?).
In this study we propose a conceptual framework to address these broader questions, and develop a set of simulation models to demonstrate the carry over effect of individual variation in space-use. We argue that individuals with different personalities also differ consistently in other aspects of their movement (e.g., in foraging) due to various reasons such as the effect of their hormones and genes on their movement, or simply from the way we define personality. These differences, in turn, can affect an individual’s habitat preference (e.g., a particular search-strategy may be more suitable for certain habitat types; Fig. 1); how they use their home-range; how they interact with members of their social network (e.g., mobile individuals may encounter others more frequently); and eventually the spatial assortment of their population (are neighbors likely to be of the same personality or just a random assortment?).
Jointly considering consistent individual variation in behavior and movement can explain the remarkable differences we see between individual trajectories. Behavioral ecologists will benefit from linking the measured variation in personality (often measured in the lab) with its ramification in the field. Our framework may also provide a parsimonious explanation for different patterns like personality-dependent social network position, or individual specialization in diet.
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California, Davis, CA, USA
What’s your move? Movement as a link between personality and spatial dynamics in animal populations.
Spiegel O, Leu ST, Bull CM, Sih A
Ecol Lett. 2017 Jan
|When the going gets tough: Sleepy lizards’… Animal movement affects various ecological processes such as disease spread, nutrient recycling and biological invasion. Hence, understanding how animals use space (and why) is important for both basic ecological science…|
|Changes in anti-predator behaviour of prey after… Large carnivores are suffering severe declines worldwide due to their vulnerability to habitat loss, emerging diseases and persecution. Their loss has been attributed to changes in the abundance and behaviour…|
|Importance of diagnosing spontaneous intracranial… Spontaneous intracranial hypotension (SIH) results from loss of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), most commonly from a CSF spinal leak, without history of recent surgery, spinal procedure or trauma. Patients typically present…|
|Brown bear habitat selection personality You maybe think that only humans have personality? But don’t be a fool, animals can have personality too. If you are a pet owner or a farmer, you probably have…|
|Could a salamander forage inside your refrigerator? The behavior and physiology of many animals (e.g., insects, amphibians and reptiles) can be greatly affected by changes in body temperature. For example, low temperature can reduce energy intake via…|
|Synthetic biology competition inspires young… Synthetic biology is a rapidly expanding area of science that incorporates engineering principles to design and build biological processes for useful and sustainable purposes. In addition, synthetic biology projects often…|