Preprints

Filtering by Subject: Behavior and Ethology

Using repeatability of performance within and across contexts to validate measures of behavioral flexibility

Kelsey McCune

Published: 2023-01-31
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Research into animal cognitive abilities is increasing quickly and often uses methods where behavioral performance on a task is assumed to represent variation in the underlying cognitive trait. However, because these methods rely on behavioral responses as a proxy for cognitive ability, it is important to validate that the task structure does, in fact, target the cognitive trait of interest [...]

Use of Airborne Laser Scanning to assess effects of understorey vegetation structure on nest-site selection and breeding performance in an Australian passerine bird

Richard S. Turner, Ophélie J. D. Lasne, Kara N. Youngentob, et al.

Published: 2022-12-17
Subjects: Animal Sciences, Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Ornithology

In wild bird populations, the structure of vegetation around nest-sites can influence the risk of predation of dependent offspring, generating selection for nest-sites with vegetation characteristics associated with lower predation rates. However, vegetation structure can be difficult to quantify objectively in the field, which might explain why there remains a general lack of understanding of [...]

Quantifying between-individual variation using high-throughput phenotyping of behavioural traits in the fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

Erin L Macartney, Patrice Pottier, Samantha Burke, et al.

Published: 2022-12-06
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Behavioural phenotyping is often time and labour-intensive, which can come at a cost to sample size and statistical precision. This is particularly a concern given that behaviours are often highly variable within and between individuals, so naturally requires a larger sample size. Drosophila melanogaster is a common model system in many research fields, and behavioural observations are frequently [...]

Individual identity information persists in learned calls of introduced parrot populations

Grace Smith-Vidaurre, Valeria Perez-Marrufo, Elizabeth A. Hobson, et al.

Published: 2022-09-23
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Animals can actively encode different types of identity information in learned communication signals, such as group membership or individual identity. The social environments in which animals interact may favor different types of information, but whether identity information conveyed in learned signals is resilient or responsive to social disruption over short evolutionary timescales is not well [...]

Linking Predator Responses to Alkaloid Variability in Poison Frogs

Justin P Lawrence, Bibiana Rojas, Annelise Blanchette, et al.

Published: 2022-09-21
Subjects: Animal Sciences, Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences, Zoology

Many chemically-defended/aposematic species rely on diet for sequestering the toxins with which they defend themselves. This dietary acquisition can lead to variable chemical defenses across space, as the community composition of chemical sources is likely to vary across the range of (an aposematic) species. We characterized the alkaloid content of two populations of the Dyeing Poison Frog [...]

Foraging Efficiency and the Importance of Knowledge in Pemba, Tanzania: Implications for Childhood Evolution.

Ilaria Pretelli, Monique Borgerhoff Mulder, Bakar Makame Khamis, et al.

Published: 2022-09-12
Subjects: Anthropology, Behavior and Ethology, Biological and Physical Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences

Childhood is a period of life unique to humans. Childhood may have evolved through the need to acquire knowledge and subsistence skills. In an attempt to evaluate the importance of learning for the evolution of childhood, previous research examined the increase with age of returns to foraging across various resources. Any increase could be due to increases in knowledge or other factors such as [...]

Bayesian reinforcement learning models reveal how great-tailed grackles improve their behavioral flexibility in serial reversal learning experiments

Dieter Lukas, Kelsey McCune, Aaron Blaisdell, et al.

Published: 2022-08-10
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Environments can change suddenly and unpredictably, so animals might benefit from being able to flexibly adapt their behavior through learning new associations. Reversal learning experiments, where individuals initially learn that a reward is associated with a specific cue before the reward is switched to a different cue, thus forcing individuals to reverse their learned associations, have long [...]

Repeatability of performance within and across contexts measuring behavioral flexibility

Kelsey McCune, Aaron Blaisdell, Zoe Johnson-Ulrich, et al.

Published: 2022-08-10
Subjects: Animal Experimentation and Research, Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Research Methods in Life Sciences

Research into animal cognitive abilities is increasing quickly and often uses methods where behavioral performance on a task is assumed to represent variation in the underlying cognitive trait. However, because these methods rely on behavioral responses as a proxy for cognitive ability, it is important to validate that the task structure does, in fact, target the cognitive trait of interest [...]

Female preferences for higher vocal effort in Neotropical singing mice

Tracy Burkhard, E. Raney Sachs, Steve Phelps

Published: 2022-07-29
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Despite the importance of vocalizations in mammalian sociosexual communication, little is known about female preferences for male vocal displays in wild mammals. Here, we characterized female preferences for the advertisement songs of male Alston’s singing mice (Scotinomys teguina). We developed procedures for inducing estrus, using vaginal morphology as a bioindicator. We then broadcasted [...]

Generation and applications of simulated datasets to integrate social network and demographic analyses

Matthew Silk, Olivier Gimenez

Published: 2022-07-27
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Population Biology

Social networks are tied to population dynamics; interactions are driven by population density and demographic structure, while social relationships can be key determinants of survival and reproductive success. However, difficulties integrating models used in demography and network analysis have limited research at this interface. We introduce the R package genNetDem for simulating integrated [...]

Perturbations of key individuals trigger shifts in group-level dominance patterns

Annemarie van der Marel, Xavier Francis, Claire L. O'Connell, et al.

Published: 2022-07-20
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Dominance hierarchies direct and structure aggression in a myriad of species. Recent computational approaches have been able to detect additional aggression patterns within animal dominance hierarchies based on relative rank differences between individuals. Within species, distinct groups can follow different social dominance patterns, indicating that these patterns should not be thought of as a [...]

Social niche shapes social behavior and cortisol concentrations during adolescence in female guinea pigs

Taylor Rystrom, S. Helene Richter, Norbert Sachser, et al.

Published: 2022-07-15
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Individualized social niches arise in social groups and are associated with behavior and hormone (e.g. cortisol) concentrations. During sensitive life phases, social interactions can have a profound impact on the development of social behavior. Focusing on adolescence, we aimed to investigate the relationship between the social niche, social behavior, and cortisol concentrations (baseline and [...]

The effect of experimental hybridization on cognition and brain anatomy: limited phenotypic variation and transgression in Poeciliidae

Catarina Vila Pouca, Hannah De Waele, Alexander Kotrschal

Published: 2022-06-23
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences

Hybridization can promote phenotypic variation and often produces trait combinations distinct from the parental species. This increase in available variation can lead to the manifestation of functional novelty when new phenotypes bear adaptive value under the environmental conditions in which they occur. While the role of hybridization as a driver of variation and novelty in traits linked to [...]

The Evolution of Peace

Luke Glowacki

Published: 2022-06-02
Subjects: Anthropology, Behavior and Ethology, Biological and Physical Anthropology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Social and Cultural Anthropology

While some species have affiliative and even cooperative interactions between individuals of different social groups, humans are alone in having durable, positive-sum, interdependent relationships across unrelated social groups. Our capacity to have harmonious relationships that cross group boundaries is an important aspect of our species’ success, allowing for the exchange of ideas, materials, [...]

Perturbations highlight importance of social history in parakeet rank dynamics

Annemarie van der Marel, Xavier Francis, Claire L. O'Connell, et al.

Published: 2022-06-01
Subjects: Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences

Dominance hierarchies can provide many benefits to individuals, such as access to resources or mates, depending on their ranks. In some species, rank can emerge as a product of the history of social interactions within a group. However, it can be difficult to determine whether social history is critical to rank in observation-based studies. Here, we investigated rank dynamics in three captive [...]

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