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Personality-dependent spatial ecology occurs independently from dispersal in wild burbot (Lota lota)

Harrison, Philip M., Gutowsky, Lee Frank Gordon, Martins, Eduardo G., Patterson, David A., Cooke, Steven J., Power, Michael
Behavioral ecology 2015 v.26 no.2 pp. 483-492
Lota lota, acoustics, animals, habitats, home range, philopatry, telemetry
Although personality has been documented in numerous animals and characters, research into personality-dependent spatial ecology has focused on dispersal. Indeed, few authors have investigated the role of other important spatial traits such as home range, movement distance, vertical activity, and site fidelity, and it is not clear whether these behaviors are correlated with dispersal. In this study, we investigated individual differences in home range, dispersal from release, vertical activity, movement distance, and site fidelity of 44 wild burbot Lota lota over 2 years, using an acoustic telemetry array and a Bayesian mixed modeling framework. We tested whether the spatial behaviors met the following criteria for personality-dependent behavior: repeatability, cross-contextual consistency, and an absence of pseudo-repeatability associated with spatial context choice. We then tested for between-individual correlations among spatial behaviors, indicative of a behavioral syndrome. Our results documented repeatable, cross-contextually consistent, personality-dependent home range, movement, dispersal from release, and site fidelity. In contrast, behavioral differences in vertical activity were inconsistent across sampling years and may have been a product of habitat heterogeneity. Our data indicate a spatial behavioral syndrome occurred independently from dispersal from release, with behavioral types ranging from “resident” individuals with small home ranges, high site fidelity, and minimal movement to “mobile” individuals with large home ranges, high movement rates, and little site fidelity. Our findings suggest animal personality can play a key role in shaping the space use of individuals, and this diversity in spatial behaviors may be too complex to be captured by often used simple linear measures of dispersal.