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A predation cost to bold fish in the wild

Author:
  • Kaj Hulthén
  • Ben B. Chapman
  • P. Anders Nilsson
  • Lars Anders Hansson
  • Christian Skov
  • Jakob Brodersen
  • Jerker Vinterstare
  • Christer Brönmark
Publishing year: 2017-04-27
Language: English
Publication/Series: Scientific Reports
Volume: 7
Issue: 1
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Abstract english

Studies of predator-mediated selection on behaviour are critical for our understanding of the evolution and maintenance of behavioural diversity in natural populations. Consistent individual differences in prey behaviour, especially in the propensity to take risks ("boldness"), are widespread in the animal kingdom. Theory predicts that individual behavioural types differ in a cost-benefit trade-off where bolder individuals benefit from greater access to resources while paying higher predation-risk costs. However, explicitly linking predation events to individual behaviour under natural conditions is challenging and there is currently little data from the wild. We assayed individual behaviour and electronically tagged hundreds of fish (roach, Rutilus rutilus) before releasing them into their lake of origin, thereby exposing them to predation risk from avian apex predators (cormorants, Phalacrocorax carbo). Scanning for regurgitated tags at the cormorant roosting site provided data on individual predation events. We found that fish with higher boldness have a greater susceptibility to cormorant predation compared to relatively shy, risk-averse individuals. Our findings hereby provide unique and direct evidence of behavioural type-dependent predation vulnerability in the wild, i.e. that there is a predation cost to boldness, which is critical for our understanding of the evolution and maintenance of behavioural diversity in natural populations.

Keywords

  • Ecology

Other

Published
  • Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • ISSN: 2045-2322
Christer Brönmark
E-mail: christer [dot] bronmark [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Head of unit

Division aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 37 02

+46 73 081 55 48

E-C125

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

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Professor

Aquatic Ecology

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Professor

Division aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 37 02

+46 73 081 55 48

E-C125

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Research group

Aquatic Ecology

Projects

Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

Jerker Vinterstare

PhD students, assistant supervisor

  • Nan Hu
  • Varpu Pärssinen
  • Yongcui Sha
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