Differences in boldness are repeatable and heritable in a long-lived marine predator
Article first published online: 3 OCT 2013
© 2013 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 3, Issue 13, pages 4291–4299, November 2013
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2013; 3(13): 4291–4299
- Issue published online: 13 NOV 2013
- Article first published online: 3 OCT 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 2 AUG 2013
- Manuscript Revised: 26 JUL 2013
- Manuscript Received: 31 MAY 2013
- Institut Polaire Français Paul Emile Victor
- Terres Australes and Antarctique Françaises
- Agence Nationale de la Recherche. Grant Number: ANR-12-ADAP-0006-02-PEPS
- Animal model;
- Bayesian environment;
- individual behavioral differences;
- quantitative genetics;
- wandering albatross
Animal personalities, composed of axes of consistent individual behaviors, are widely reported and can have important fitness consequences. However, despite theoretical predictions that life-history trade-offs may cause and maintain personality differences, our understanding of the evolutionary ecology of personality remains poor, especially in long-lived species where trade-offs and senescence have been shown to be stronger. Furthermore, although much theoretical and empirical work assumes selection shapes variation in personalities, studies exploring the genetic underpinnings of personality traits are rare. Here we study one standard axis of personality, the shy–bold continuum, in a long-lived marine species, the wandering albatross from Possession Island, Crozet, by measuring the behavioral response to a human approach. Using generalized linear mixed models in a Bayesian framework, we show that boldness is highly repeatable and heritable. We also find strong differences in boldness between breeding colonies, which vary in size and density, suggesting birds are shyer in more dense colonies. These results demonstrate that in this seabird population, boldness is both heritable and repeatable and highlights the potential for ecological and evolutionary processes to shape personality traits in species with varying life-history strategies.