Habitat stability and predation pressure affect temperament behaviours in populations of three-spined sticklebacks

Nichola M. Brydges, Nick Colegrave, Robert J.P. Heathcote, Victoria A. Braithwaite

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

1. There is growing interest in the causes and consequences of animal temperaments. Temperament behaviours often have heritable components, but ecological variables can also affect them. Numerous variables are likely to differ between habitats, and these may interact to influence temperament behaviours. 2. Temperament behaviours may be correlated within populations (behavioural syndromes), although the underlying causes of such correlations are currently unclear. 3. We analysed three different temperament behaviours and learning ability in three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus, to determine how different ecological variables influence them both within and between populations. We selected populations from four ponds and four rivers that varied naturally in their exposure to predators. 4. High-predation river populations were significantly less bold than a high-predation pond and low-predation river populations, and low-predation pond populations were significantly less bold than a high-predation pond population. Within populations, temperament behaviours were correlated in one high-predation river population only. 5. These results suggest that multiple ecological factors can interact to affect temperament behaviours between populations, and also correlations in those behaviours within populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Animal Ecology
Volume77
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology

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