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Putting personality back in nature: Natural variation in behavioural types in the cooperative breeding cichlid Neolamprologus puicher

Witsenburg, F. (2008) Putting personality back in nature: Natural variation in behavioural types in the cooperative breeding cichlid Neolamprologus puicher. Master's Thesis / Essay, Biology.

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Abstract

Consistent inter-correlated variation of behaviours, known as a 'behavioural syndrome' has been identified in populations of a broad range of animal species. Still little is known about and the ecological relevancy of behavioural syndromes. In a system of cooperative breeding behavioural type might critically influence an indivIdual's decision to help or to disperse. Neolamprologus puicher Is a cooperatively breeding cichlld and faces many important lifehistory decisions about dispersal and helping effort that have to be traded off against each other. We assessed the behavioural type of size matched subordinates in their natural environment by quantifying their aggression against a conspecific, anti-predator behaviour, roaming behaviour and helping effort. A principal component analysis grouped all behaviours but one In the first component, demonstrating strong co-variation among these behaviours (a behavioural syndrome). Surprisingly, roaming was negatively correlated with the other behaviours like aggression. Digging, as a measure of help, did not load Into this component and its rank orders were not maintained over time. Other behaviours varied in their consistency across time, but all showed a positive trend. The sexes did not differ In their behavioural type and the behavioural types did not have different feeding rates. In larger breeding groups, subordinates were more aggressive and helpful and less exploratory. This demonstrates the trade-off between helping the current group and looking for independent breeding opportunities. Location In the colony, predator density nor competitor density influenced the distribution of behavioural types. This study demonstrates that natural variation in co-varying behaviour indeed occurs. Helping behaviour varies with the behavioural types and should therefore have consequences for the entire life-history.

Item Type: Thesis (Master's Thesis / Essay)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Master's Thesis / Essay
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 07:31
URI: http://fse.studenttheses.ub.rug.nl/id/eprint/9108

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