Heterogeneous selection on exploration behavior within and among West European populations of a passerine bird

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Mouchet, Alexia
Cole, Ella F.
Matthysen, Erik
Nicolaus, Marion
Quinn, John L.
Roth, Allison M.
Tinbergen, Joost M.
van Oers, Kees
van Overveld, Thijs
Dingemanse, Niels J.
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National Academy of Sciences
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Heterogeneous selection is often proposed as a key mechanism maintaining repeatable behavioral variation (â animal personalityâ ) in wild populations. Previous studies largely focused on temporal variation in selection within single populations. The relative importance of spatial versus temporal variation remains unexplored, despite these processes having distinct effects on local adaptation. Using data from >3,500 great tits (Parus major) and 35 nest box plots situated within five West-European populations monitored over 4 to 18 y, we show that selection on exploration behavior varies primarily spatially, across populations, and study plots within populations. Exploration was, simultaneously, selectively neutral in the average population and year. These findings imply that spatial variation in selection may represent a primary mechanism maintaining animal personalities, likely promoting the evolution of local adaptation, phenotype-dependent dispersal, and nonrandom settlement. Selection also varied within populations among years, which may counteract local adaptation. Our study underlines the importance of combining multiple spatiotemporal scales in the study of behavioral adaptation.
Animal personality , Macro-spatial variation , Fluctuating selection , Integrative fitness , Local adaptation
Mouchet, A., Cole, E. F., Matthysen, E., Nicolaus, M., Quinn, J. L., Roth, A. M., Tinbergen, J. M., van Oers, K., van Overveld, T. and Dingemanse, N. J. (2021) 'Heterogeneous selection on exploration behavior within and among West European populations of a passerine bird', Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(28), e2024994118 (6pp). doi: 10.1073/pnas.2024994118
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© 2021, the Authors. Published by PNAS under an exclusive License to Publish.