Browsing by Subject "FITNESS CONSEQUENCES"

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  • Nichols, Hazel J.; Arbuckle, Kevin; Sanderson, Jennifer L.; Vitikainen, Emma I. K.; Marshall, Harry H.; Thompson, Faye J.; Cant, Michael A.; Wells, David A. (2021)
    Personality traits, such as the propensity to cooperate, are often inherited from parents to offspring, but the pathway of inheritance is unclear. Traits could be inherited via genetic or parental effects, or culturally via social learning from role models. However, these pathways are difficult to disentangle in natural systems as parents are usually the source of all of these effects. Here, we exploit natural 'cross fostering' in wild banded mongooses to investigate the inheritance of cooperative behaviour. Our analysis of 800 adult helpers over 21 years showed low but significant genetic heritability of cooperative personalities in males but not females. Cross fostering revealed little evidence of cultural heritability: offspring reared by particularly cooperative helpers did not become more cooperative themselves. Our results demonstrate that cooperative personalities are not always highly heritable in wild, and that the basis of behavioural traits can vary within a species (here, by sex).
  • Class, Barbara; Kluen, Edward; Brommer, Jon E. (2014)
    Behavioral differences between individuals that are consistent over time characterize animal personality. The existence of such consistency contrasts to the expectation based on classical behavioral theory that facultative behavior maximizes individual fitness. Here, we study two personality traits (aggression and breath rate during handling) in a wild population of blue tits during 2007– 2012. Handling aggression and breath rate were moderately heritable (h2 = 0.35 and 0.20, respectively) and not genetically correlated (rA = 0.06) in adult blue tits, which permits them to evolve independently. Reciprocal cross-fostering (2007–2010) showed that offspring reared by more aggressive males have a higher probability to recruit. In addition, offspring reared by pairs mated assortatively for handling aggression had a higher recruitment probability, which is the first evidence that both parents’ personalities influence their reproductive success in the wild in a manner independent of their genetic effects. Handling aggression was not subjected to survival selection in either sex, but slow-breathing females had a higher annual probability of survival as revealed by capture–mark–recapture analysis. We find no evidence for temporal fluctuations in selection, and thus conclude that directional selection (via different fitness components) acts on these two heritable personality traits. Our findings show that blue tit personality has predictable fitness consequences, but that facultative adjustment of an individual’s personality to match the fitness maximum is likely constrained by the genetic architecture of personality. In the face of directional selection, the presence of heritable variation in personality suggests the existence of a trade-off that we have not identified yet.
  • Berg, Venla; Lummaa, Virpi; Rickard, Ian J.; Silventoinen, Karri; Kaprio, Jaakko; Jokela, Markus (2016)
    Personality has been associated with reproductive success in humans and other animals, suggesting potential evolutionary selection pressures. However, studies to date have only examined these associations on a phenotypic level, which may be inadequate in estimating evolutionary change. Using a large longitudinal twin dataset of contemporary Finns, we compared the phenotypic (breeder's equation) and genetically informed (the Robertson-Price identity) associations between lifetime reproductive success (LRS) and two personality traits-neuroticism and extraversion. Neuroticism was not associated with LRS at the phenotypic nor genetic level, while extraversion was associated with higher LRS in men both phenotypically and genetically. Compared to the univariate phenotypic analysis, the genetic analysis suggested a larger selection response of extraversion, and a selection response of neuroticism due to indirect selection. We estimated that neuroticism decreases by .05 standard deviations and extraversion increases by .11 standard deviations by one generation. Our results highlight the importance of considering genetic associations between personality and fitness and investigating several inter-related personality traits and their covariance with each other to predict responses to selection more accurately.
  • Tolman, Deryk; Campobello, Daniela; Rönkä, Katja; Kluen, Edward; Thorogood, Rose (2021)
    Hosts of brood parasitic cuckoos often employ mobbing attacks to defend their nests and, when mobbing is costly, hosts are predicted to adjust their mobbing to match parasitism risk. While evidence exists for fine-tuned plasticity, it remains unclear why mobbing does not track larger seasonal changes in parasitism risk. Here we test a possible explanation from parental investment theory: parents should defend their current brood more intensively as the opportunity to replace it declines (re-nesting potential), and therefore "counteract" any apparent seasonal decline to match parasitism risk. We take advantage of mobbing experiments conducted at two sites where reed warblers (Acrocephalus scirpaceus) experience (in Italy), or do not experience (in Finland), brood parasitism. We predicted that mobbing of cuckoos should be higher overall in Italy, but remain constant over the season as in other parasitised sites, whereas in Finland where cuckoos do not pose a local threat, we predicted that mobbing should be low at the beginning of the season but increase as re-nesting potential declined. However, while cuckoos were more likely to be mobbed in Italy, we found little evidence that mobbing changed over the season at either the parasitized or non-parasitized sites. This suggests that re-nesting potential has either little influence on mobbing behavior, or that its effects are obscured by other seasonal differences in ecology or experience of hosts.
  • Vallon, Martin; Grom, Christina; Kalb, Nadine; Sprenger, Dennis; Anthes, Nils; Lindström, Kai; Heubel, Katja U. (2016)
    Many animal parents invest heavily to ensure offspring survival, yet some eventually consume some or all of their very own young. This so-called filial cannibalism is known from a wide range of taxa, but its adaptive benefit remains largely unclear. The extent to which parents cannibalize their broods varies substantially not only between species, but also between individuals, indicating that intrinsic behavioral differences, or animal personalities, might constitute a relevant proximate trigger for filial cannibalism. Using a marine fish with extensive paternal care, the common goby (Pomatoschistus microps), we investigated the influence of animal personality on filial cannibalism by assessing (1) behavioral consistency across a breeding and a nonbreeding context; (2) correlations between different breeding (egg fanning; filial cannibalism) and nonbreeding (activity) behaviors, and, in a separate experiment; (3) whether previously established personality scores affect filial cannibalism levels. We found consistent individual differences in activity across contexts. Partial filial cannibalism was independent of egg fanning but correlated strongly with activity, where active males cannibalized more eggs than less active males. This pattern was strong initially but vanished as the breeding season progressed. The incidence of whole clutch filial cannibalism increased with activity and clutch size. Our findings indicate that filial cannibalism cannot generally be adjusted independently of male personality and is thus phenotypically less plastic than typically assumed. The present work stresses the multidimensional interaction between animal personality, individual plasticity and the environment in shaping filial cannibalism.