Individual personalities and not the social context predict movement tendencies in three-spined sticklebacks

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic


It is now widely accepted that animals of the same populations, same sex and morphological states often differ consistently in suites of behaviours (animal personalities). However, to reap the benefits of a group living, individuals often need to adjust their behaviour to some extent to match that of their interacting partners (social modulation of behaviour). One challenge faced by these studies is that detailed knowledge of an individual’s social environment is often difficult to gain, especially for animals which form dynamic social groups. We here capitalize on a unique system of populations of migrant and resident 13 sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) with markedly different movement tendencies but still show social interactions within a mixed shoal. By creating mixed shoals with different proportions of migrants and residents, we ask whether and to what extent individual movement tendencies are affected by the social group composition. Using a recently established semi-natural mesocosm system consisting of connected ponds, we collected individual movement data (over extended periods) in an ecologically relevant environment (larger spatial scales and social groups). We find that the tendency of residents to exit the first pond was increased by the presence of migrants, while the expression of movement tendencies between ponds is predominantly driven by the individual’s inherent movement tendency. We thus conclude that in our system, movement tendencies over larger scale may largely be driven by individual tendencies and that that social effects on movement may play a role at a different life stage over ontogeny.
EvenementstitelEuropean Conference on Behavioural Biology 2022: All of life is social!
LocatieGroningen, Netherlands
Mate van erkenningInternational