Information and its use by animals in evolutionary ecology. Trends Ecol Evol

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, University of Exeter in Cornwall, Tremough Campus, Penryn, UK, TR10 9EZ.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Impact Factor: 16.2). 05/2005; 20(4):187-93. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.01.010
Source: PubMed


Information is a crucial currency for animals from both a behavioural and evolutionary perspective. Adaptive behaviour relies upon accurate estimation of relevant ecological parameters; the better informed an individual, the better it can develop and adjust its behaviour to meet the demands of a variable world. Here, we focus on the burgeoning interest in the impact of ecological uncertainty on adaptation, and the means by which it can be reduced by gathering information, from both 'passive' and 'responsive' sources. Our overview demonstrates the value of adopting an explicitly informational approach, and highlights the components that one needs to develop useful approaches to studying information use by animals. We propose a quantitative framework, based on statistical decision theory, for analysing animal information use in evolutionary ecology. Our purpose is to promote an integrative approach to studying information use by animals, which is itself integral to adaptive animal behaviour and organismal biology.


Available from: Sasha R X Dall
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    • "The fact that the concept of pheromone was used to explain how uncoordinated termites manage to build their complex termite hills (Grassé, 1959) is a clear indication of its relevance to the non-human species. Indeed, a growing list of publications (Danchin et al., 2004; Dall et al., 2005; Seppänen et al., 2007; Bonnie & Earley, 2007) has suggested that animals use not only personal but socially acquired information, particularly when the former is not available. Specific examples of social information use among the nonhuman animals can be found in foraging, habitat selection and mate choice (see (Danchin et al., 2004) and references therein). "

    Connection Science 09/2015; DOI:10.1080/09540091.2015.1080226 · 0.84 Impact Factor
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    • "In addition to individual breeding performance, numerous studies have recently highlighted the role of social information use in breeding habitat selection (Boulinier et al., 2008a). Information sources reflecting the local quality of habitats are diverse (Dall et al., 2005), but observational (Calabuig et al., 2010; Danchin et al., 1998; Doligez et al., 2004; Kivelä et al., 2014; Pärt and Doligez, 2003; Pärt et al., 2011; Ward, 2005) and experimental studies (Aparicio et al., 2007; Boulinier et al., 2008b; Doligez et al., 2002; Nocera et al., 2006; Parejo et al., 2008) have suggested that individuals can efficiently rely on social information such as conspecific presence and/or performance to assess the local quality of breeding habitats and choose their potential future breeding site. Such information can be gathered during prospecting movements, which are visits to suitable breeding sites where the individual does not currently breed (Reed et al., 1999). "
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    ABSTRACT: Before making dispersal decisions, many species are known to gather social information by prospecting potential future breeding sites, especially when they have failed breeding. So far, the role of current breeding performance on the occurrence of prospecting movements has mainly been studied at limited spatial scales, because of difficulties in tracking free-ranging, fast-moving individuals between distant breeding patches. Little information is thus available on individual behaviour and the spatial extent of prospecting movements in response to breeding failure. To address this issue, black-legged kittiwakes which breeding success was manipulated were tracked with GPS at the end of incubation in two Norwegian colonies. Crucially, and as predicted, prospecting visits to other breeding colonies were recorded in 33% of artificially-failed breeders, but never in successful ones. They occurred at large (40 km) as well as local spatial scales (1 km). Time-budgets of successful and failed breeders differed significantly in terms of trip duration, but also foraging, resting and nesting propensities. These results provide important elements to assess trade-offs between prospecting and other activities. They show that a substantial proportion of failed breeders prospect as early aswithin a week after failure at the egg stage and suggest that these individuals assess their options of future reproduction by prospecting alternative areas, although dispersal decisions may also involve more complex behavioural processes. Because they link breeding colonies situated tens of kilometres apart, prospecting movements may have critical implications for the dynamics of subdivided populations.
    Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 09/2015; 473:138-145. DOI:10.1016/j.jembe.2015.08.013 · 1.87 Impact Factor
    • "It was traditionally believed that prior experience with predators is likely to have little infl uence on the phenotypic response to predation, since failing to react correctly to a predator may mean death to the prey and no second chance to learn and correct the behaviour (Hellström and Magnhagen 2011). However, this assertion negates widespread adaptive behavioural responses of individuals in face of biotic perturbations (see Dall et al. 2005 for a review). A longitudinal study by Olson et al. (2001) investigated changes in yellow perch growth associated with the establishment of a walleye (Sander vitreus) predator population. "
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    ABSTRACT: Perca spp. are an ecologically signifi cant component of many North American and European freshwater food webs. Their success can be attributed to the array of diverse behaviours they exhibit that make them well adapted to the lakes, ponds, creeks and rivers—both native and non-native—they inhabit. The differences in behaviour observed among conspecifi c populations refl ect interacting drivers, both biotic and abiotic, that shape the adaptive behaviours of perch: genetic differentiation due to selection, the competitive environment, predation pressure, life history change, and habitat complexity. Resultantly, perch habitat-selection movements, competitive abilities, antipredator strategies, predation impacts, social behaviours and behavioural phenotypes can drive, in turn, ecosystemlevel dynamics. This chapter explores the behaviour of perch and their impacts, and urges the continuation of research into the behavioural responses of perch to human-induced, rapid environmental change since such discoveries will advance both fundamental research, in addition to enhancing its applied value.
    Biology of perch, Edited by Patrice Couture, Greg Pyle, 08/2015: chapter Chapter 9: pages 230-270; CRC Taylor & Francis Group, LLC., ISBN: 978-1-4987-3032-7
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