Repeatability and plasticity of risk-taking in breeding blue tits

Activiteit: Academic presentationAcademic

Description

Individuals respond adaptively to their environment. Yet, they may differ in their responses even when confronted with the same environmental challenge. Several complementary conceptual frameworks suggest that within populations among-individual variation in life-history strategies aligns not only with individuals’ propensities to take risks across different situations but also with their sensitivity to variation in environmental cues. Risk-prone individuals—suggested to invest relatively more in current reproduction at the cost of their future reproductive prospects—are predicted to be less sensitive to environmental variation compared to risk-averse individuals. We tested this prediction in a population of breeding bluetits (Cyanistes caeruleus) by confronting them with different levels of predation threat at their nests and recording their latency to resume brood provisioning after the removal of the predator stimulus. We presented taxidermic woodpecker (Dendrocopos major; a common brood predator) and sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus; a common adult predator) mounts at each nest, respectively representing low and high levels of threat to adult blue tits. As a non-predator control stimulus, we presented a blackbird (Turdus merula) mount. We found that on average parents took longer to resume provisioning after presentation of a sparrowhawk compared to a woodpecker or blackbird. Furthermore, individual latency responses across all threat levels taken together were repeatable. However, despite the population-level plastic adjustment to the level of predation threat, we found no evidence for among-individual variation in plasticity. Instead, individual differences in responses were roughly maintained across all levels of threat. While our findings show that individuals differ in their level of risk-taking, in the high-stakes and ecologically relevant context of predation risk during parental care, commonly held expectations about among-individual variation in behavioural plasticity were not met.
Periode22-jul.-2022
EvenementstitelEuropean Conference on Behavioural Biology 2022: All of life is social!
EvenementstypeConference
LocatieGroningen, NetherlandsToon op kaart
Mate van erkenningInternational