Ecological implications of behavioural syndromes

Authors

  • Andrew Sih,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California at Davis, 95616, USA
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  • Julien Cote,

    1. Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California at Davis, 95616, USA
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    • Current address: CNRS, EDB (Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique), UMR 5174, Toulouse, France, and Université de Toulouse UPS, Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique, 118 Route de Narbonne, Bât. 4R3, 31062 Toulouse Cedex 9, France, julien.cote@cict.fr

  • Mara Evans,

    1. Department of Evolution & Ecology, University of California at Davis, 95616, USA
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  • Sean Fogarty,

    1. Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California at Davis, 95616, USA
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  • Jonathan Pruitt

    1. Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of California at Davis, 95616, USA
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    • Current address: Department of Biological Sciences, 213 Clapp Hall, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA, agelenopsis@gmail.com


E-mail: asih@ucdavis.edu

Abstract

Ecology Letters (2012)

Abstract

Interspecific trait variation has long served as a conceptual foundation for our understanding of ecological patterns and dynamics. In particular, ecologists recognise the important role that animal behaviour plays in shaping ecological processes. An emerging area of interest in animal behaviour, the study of behavioural syndromes (animal personalities) considers how limited behavioural plasticity, as well as behavioural correlations affects an individual’s fitness in diverse ecological contexts. In this article we explore how insights from the concept and study of behavioural syndromes provide fresh understanding of major issues in population ecology. We identify several general mechanisms for how population ecology phenomena can be influenced by a species or population’s average behavioural type, by within-species variation in behavioural type, or by behavioural correlations across time or across ecological contexts. We note, in particular, the importance of behavioural type-dependent dispersal in spatial ecology. We then review recent literature and provide new syntheses for how these general mechanisms produce novel insights on five major issues in population ecology: (1) limits to species’ distribution and abundance; (2) species interactions; (3) population dynamics; (4) relative responses to human-induced rapid environmental change; and (5) ecological invasions.

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