‘How to…’ paper
Quantifying individual variation in behaviour: mixed-effect modelling approaches
Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 82, Issue 1, pages 39–54, January 2013
How to Cite
Dingemanse, N. J., Dochtermann, N. A. (2013), Quantifying individual variation in behaviour: mixed-effect modelling approaches. Journal of Animal Ecology, 82: 39–54. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12013
- Issue published online: 17 JAN 2013
- Article first published online: 21 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 13 SEP 2012
- Manuscript Received: 6 JUL 2011
- Max Planck Society
- mixed-effect model;
- multi-response model;
- random regression;
- reaction norm;
- statistical power
- Growing interest in proximate and ultimate causes and consequences of between- and within-individual variation in labile components of the phenotype – such as behaviour or physiology – characterizes current research in evolutionary ecology.
- The study of individual variation requires tools for quantification and decomposition of phenotypic variation into between- and within-individual components. This is essential as variance components differ in their ecological and evolutionary implications.
- We provide an overview of how mixed-effect models can be used to partition variation in, and correlations among, phenotypic attributes into between- and within-individual variance components.
- Optimal sampling schemes to accurately estimate (with sufficient power) a wide range of repeatabilities and key (co)variance components, such as between- and within-individual correlations, are detailed.
- Mixed-effect models enable the usage of unambiguous terminology for patterns of biological variation that currently lack a formal statistical definition (e.g. ‘animal personality’ or ‘behavioural syndromes’), and facilitate cross-fertilisation between disciplines such as behavioural ecology, ecological physiology and quantitative genetics.