Melanie Dammhahn

Melanie Dammhahn
University of Münster | WWU

Dr. rer. nat.

About

79
Publications
16,576
Reads
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1,831
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2018 - present
University of Potsdam
Position
  • Senior Researcher
October 2017 - July 2018
University of Greifswald
Position
  • Professor
April 2014 - September 2017
University of Potsdam
Position
  • PostDoc Position

Publications

Publications (79)
Article
Full-text available
Intraspecific trait variation is an important determinant of fundamental ecological interactions. Many of these interactions are mediated by behaviour. Therefore, interindividual differences in behaviour should contribute to individual niche specialization. Comparable with variation in morphological traits, behavioural differentiation between indiv...
Article
Full-text available
Movement behavior is an essential element of fundamental ecological processes such as competition and predation. Although intraspecific trait variation (ITV) in movement behaviors is pervasive, its consequences for ecological community dynamics are still not fully understood. Using a newly developed individual‐based model, we analyzed how given and...
Article
Full-text available
A fundamental focus of current ecological and evolutionary research is to illuminate the drivers of animals’ success in coping with human‐induced rapid environmental change (HIREC). Behavioural adaptations are likely to play a major role in coping with HIREC because behaviour largely determines how individuals interact with their surroundings. A su...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging by consumers acts as a biotic filtering mechanism for biodiversity at the trophic level of resources. Variation in foraging behaviour has cascading effects on abundance, diversity, and functional trait composition of the community of resource species. Here we propose diversity at giving-up density (DivGUD), i.e. when foragers quit exploiti...
Article
Full-text available
Perceived predation risk varies in space and time creating a landscape of fear. This key feature of an animal's environment is classically studied as a species‐specific property. However, individuals differ in how they solve the tradeoff between safety and reward and may, hence, differ consistently and predictively in perceived predation risk acros...
Article
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Individuals of a population may vary along a pace-of-life syndrome from highly fecund, short-lived, bold, dispersive “fast” types at one end of the spectrum to less fecund, long-lived, shy, plastic “slow” types at the other end. Risk-taking behavior might mediate the underlying life history trade-off, but empirical evidence supporting this hypothes...
Article
Full-text available
Background Animal personality has emerged as a key concept in behavioral ecology. While many studies have demonstrated the influence of personality traits on behavioral patterns, its quantification, especially in wild animal populations, remains a challenge. Only a few studies have established a link between personality and recurring movements with...
Article
Individual diet specialization (IDS) is widespread and can affect the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of populations in significant ways. Extrinsic factors (e.g., food abundance) and individual variation in energetic needs, morphology, or physiology have been suggested as drivers of IDS. Behavioral traits like exploration and boldness can also...
Article
Full-text available
The Anthropocene is the era of urbanization. The accelerating expansion of cities occurs at the expense of natural reservoirs of biodiversity and presents animals with challenges for which their evolutionary past might not have prepared them. Cognitive and behavioral adjustments to novelty could promote animals’ persistence under these altered cond...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals of a population may vary along a pace‐of‐life syndrome from highly fecund, short‐lived, bold, dispersive “fast” types at one end of the spectrum to less fecund, long‐lived, shy, plastic “slow” types at the other end. Risk‐taking behavior might mediate the underlying life history trade‐off, but empirical evidence supporting this hypothes...
Article
Full-text available
The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis posits that suites of traits are correlated along a slow-fast continuum owing to life history trade-offs. Despite widespread adoption, environmental conditions driving the emergence of POLS remain unclear. A recently proposed conceptual framework of POLS suggests that a slow-fast continuum should align to...
Article
The Anthropocene is the era of urbanization. The accelerating expansion of cities occurs at the expense of natural reservoirs of biodiversity and presents animals with challenges for which their evolutionary past might not have prepared them. Cognitive and behavioral adjustments to novelty could promote animals’ persistence under these altered cond...
Preprint
Foraging by consumers acts as a biotic filtering mechanism for biodiversity at the trophic level of resources. Variation in foraging behaviour have cascading effects on abundance, diversity, and functional trait composition of the community of resource species. Here we propose diversity at giving-up density (DivGUD), when foragers quit exploring a...
Preprint
Foraging by consumers has direct effects on the community of their resource species, and may serve as a biotic filtering mechanism of diversity. Determinants of foraging behaviour may thus have cascading effects on abundance, diversity, and functional trait composition of the resource community. Here we propose giving-up diversity (GUDiv) as a nove...
Chapter
Schon die ersten Naturforscher, die Madagaskar besuchten, erkannten die Besonderheit dieser „Schatzinsel der Natur“. Auf Schritt und Tritt begegneten sie unbekannten Tieren, die so exotisch waren, dass sie sie mit Worten aus ihrer Welt nicht zu benennen wussten. Die Madagassen hatten sie wohl aus demselben Grund oft einfach nach den Lauten benannt,...
Article
Full-text available
Foraging is risky and involves balancing the benefits of resource acquisition with costs of predation. Optimal foraging theory predicts where, when and how long to forage in a given spatiotemporal distribution of risks and resources. However, significant variation in foraging behaviour and resource exploitation remain unexplained. Using single fora...
Article
Full-text available
A fundamental question of current ecological research concerns the drives and limits of species responses to human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC). Behavioural responses to HIREC are a key component because behaviour links individual responses to population and community changes. Ongoing fast urbanization provides an ideal setting to tes...
Article
Full-text available
One of the strongest determinants of behavioural variation is the tradeoff between resource gain and safety. Although classical theory predicts optimal foraging under risk, empirical studies report large unexplained variation in behaviour. Intrinsic individual differences in risk‐taking behaviour might contribute to this variation. By repeatedly ex...
Article
Full-text available
A fundamental question of current ecological research concerns the drives and limits of species responses to human-induced rapid environmental change (HIREC). Behavioural responses to HIREC are a key component because behaviour links individual responses to population and community changes. Ongoing fast urbanization provides an ideal setting to tes...
Article
Full-text available
Organismal movement is ubiquitous and facilitates important ecological mechanisms that drive community and meta-community composition and hence biodiversity. In most existing ecological theories and models in biodiversity research, movement is represented simplistically, ignoring the behavioural basis of movement and consequently the variation in b...
Article
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Between-individual differences in coping with stress encompass neurophysiological, cognitive and behavioural reactions. The coping style model proposes two alternative response patterns to challenges that integrate these types of reactions. The “proactive strategy” combines a general fight-or-flight response and inflexibility in learning with a rel...
Preprint
Full-text available
Organismal movement is ubiquitous and facilitates important ecological mechanisms that drive community and metacommunity composition and hence biodiversity. In most existing ecological theories and models in biodiversity research, movement is represented simplistically, ignoring the behavioural basis of movement and consequently the variation in be...
Article
Full-text available
Balancing foraging gain and predation risk is a fundamental trade-off in the life of animals. Individual strategies to acquire, process, store and use information to solve cognitive tasks are likely to affect speed and flexibility of learning, and ecologically relevant decisions regarding foraging and predation risk. Theory suggests a functional li...
Article
Full-text available
1.Animal movements arise from complex interactions of individuals with their environment, including both conspecific and heterospecific individuals. Animals may be attracted to each other for mating, social foraging, or information gain, or may keep at a distance from others to avoid aggressive encounters related to, e.g., interference competition,...
Article
Full-text available
Personality-dependent space use and movement might be crucially influencing ecological interactions, giving way to individual niche specialization. This new approach challenges classical niche theory with potentially great ecological consequences, but so far has only scarce empirical support. Here, we investigated if and how consistent inter-indivi...
Article
Full-text available
The pace-of-life syndrome (i.e., POLS) hypothesis posits that behavioral and physiological traits mediate the trade-off between current and future reproduction. This hypothesis predicts that life history, behavioral, and physiological traits will covary under clearly defined conditions. Empirical tests are equivocal and suggest that the conditions...
Article
This introduction to the topical collection on Pace-of-life syndromes: a framework for the adaptive integration of behaviour, physiology, and life history provides an overview of conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and empirical progress in research on pace-of-life syndromes (POLSs) over the last decade. The topical collection has two main goa...
Article
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The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis posits that life-history characteristics, among individual differences in behavior, and physiological traits have coevolved in response to environmental conditions. This hypothesis has generated much research interest because it provides testable predictions concerning the association between the slow-fas...
Article
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Patterns of individual differences in cognition have been studied empirically and systematically in the last decade, but causes and consequences of this variation are still largely unclear. A recent hypothesis suggests that one predictor of individual variation in cognition is personality, and specifically that personality types are linked to cogni...
Article
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Pregnancy termination after encountering a strange male, the Bruce effect, is regarded as a counterstrategy of female mammals towards anticipated infanticide. While confirmed in caged rodent pairs, no verification for the Bruce effect existed from experimental field populations of small rodents. We suggest that the effect may be adaptive for breedi...
Article
Objectives: During the early 1990s, the economic and political situation in eastern Germany changed overnight. Here, we use the rare chance of an experiment-like setting in humans and aim to test whether the rapid change of environmental conditions in eastern Germany in the 1990s led to a change in the sex-specific fat distribution pattern, an end...
Article
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Background Rodents of the genus Rattus are among the most pervasive and successful invasive species, causing major vicissitudes in native ecological communities. A broad and flexible generalist diet has been suggested as key to the invasion success of Rattus spp. Here, we use an indirect approach to better understand foraging niche width, plasticit...
Article
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Given fundamental energetic trade-offs among growth, maintenance, and reproduction, individual differences in energy-saving should have consequences for survival and reproductive success. Many endotherms use periodic heterothermy to reduce energy and water requirements and individual variation in heterothermy should have fitness consequences. Howev...
Article
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Timing of winter phenotype expression determines individual chances of survival until the next reproductive season. Environmental cues triggering this seasonal phenotypic transition have rarely been investigated, although they play a central role in the compensation of climatic fluctuations via plastic phenotypic adjustments. Initiation of winter d...
Article
Based on niche theory, closely related and morphologically similar species are not predicted to coexist due to overlap in resource and habitat use. Local assemblages of bats often contain cryptic taxa, which co-occur despite notable similarities in morphology and ecology. We measured in two different habitat types on Madagascar levels of stable car...
Article
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The polymorphism of immunogenes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is thought to influence the functional plasticity of immune responses and, consequently, the fitness of populations facing heterogeneous pathogenic pressures. Here, we evaluated MHC variation (allelic richness and divergence) and patterns of selection acting on the two hi...
Article
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Classic theories of ageing consider extrinsic mortality (EM) a major factor in shaping longevity and ageing, yet most studies of functional ageing focus on species with low EM. This bias may cause overestimation of the influence of senescent declines in performance over condition-dependent mortality on demographic processes across taxa. To simultan...
Article
Understanding the mechanisms maintaining local species richness is a major topic in tropical ecology. In ecological communities of Madagascar, primates represent a major part of mammalian diversity and, thus, are a suitable taxon to study these mechanisms. Previous research suggested that ecological niche differentiation facilitates the coexistence...
Article
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The impacts of logging have been widely studied at the community level, describing changes in species composition and richness, whereas the small-scale effects on behavior and ecology of single species have received less attention. We investigated whether the Malagasy wood ant Aphaenogaster swammerdami exhibits differences in colony density, colony...
Article
Bats are important components in tropical mammal assemblages. Unravelling the mechanisms allowing multiple syntopic bat species to coexist can provide insights into community ecology. However, dietary information on component species of these assemblages is often difficult to obtain. Here we measured stable carbon and nitrogen isotopes in hair samp...
Article
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Phenotypic flexibility is a major mechanism in compensating climate-driven changes in resource availability. Endotherms can overcome resource shortages and adverse environmental conditions by using daily torpor (facultative heterothermy). The expression of this adaptive energy saving strategy varies among individuals, but the factors constraining i...
Conference Paper
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Hibernation and daily torpor are considered to be adaptations to seasonal energy shortage and environmental uncertainty. Although energy availability is commonly assumed to determine heterothermy patterns, few field data support this hypothesis. Yet, as climate and habitats change, energy availability is expected to become more variable, i.e. less...
Article
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Group-living has been recognized as one of the major transitions in evolution. Male sociality along with solitary females is rare in mammals, but it can provide unique insights into the evolution of sociality and cooperation. Because males compete with each other over females, male cooperation in mammals has been explained by joint defense of femal...
Article
Unraveling the mechanisms facilitating species coexistence in communities is a central theme in ecology. Species-rich tropical mammal communities provide excellent settings to explore such mechanisms as they often harbor numerous congeneric species with close phylogenetic relationships. Explicit tests for the mechanisms that allow syntopic occurren...
Article
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Explaining the biodiversity and, in particular, the high levels of microendemism of primates in Madagascar has been a scientific challenge for many decades. A prerequisite to our understanding of lemur biogeography is high-resolution spatial data based on homogenous sampling effort across the island. Although the distribution of lemurs is comparati...
Article
During foraging, animals have to balance the risk of predation with the energy gain. The amount of risk animals take for a given resource depends on their energy budget but is expected also to vary between individuals of different personality types. We tested whether individuals of free-ranging grey mouse lemurs, Microcebus murinus, forage risk-sen...
Chapter
To survive and reproduce successfully in highly seasonal regions, ­animals must balance their energy budgets during lean seasons. We conducted a comparative study of two sympatric mouse lemur species to identify species-specific energy saving strategies for coping with seasonality and evaluated their consequences for female fitness. Since August 20...
Article
Full-text available
Despite increasing interest, animal personality is still a puzzling phenomenon. Several theoretical models have been proposed to explain intraindividual consistency and interindividual variation in behaviour, which have been primarily supported by qualitative data and simulations. Using an empirical approach, I tested predictions of one main life-h...
Chapter
To survive and reproduce successfully in highly seasonal regions, animals must balance their energy budgets during lean seasons. We conducted a comparative study of two sympatric mouse lemur species to identify species-specific energy saving strategies for coping with seasonality and evaluated their consequences for female fitness. Since August 200...
Article
Full-text available
Cooperative hunting has been documented for several group-living carnivores and had been invoked as either the cause or the consequence of sociality. We report the first detailed observation of cooperative hunting for a solitary species, the Malagasy fossa (Cryptoprocta ferox). We observed a 45 min hunt of a 3 kg arboreal primate by three male foss...
Article
The relationships between resource distribution, type of competition, and consequences for social organization have been formalized in the socioecological model (SEM) which predicts that ecological factors are the main determinants of female distribution. We tested this basic prediction in two solitary primates (Microcebus berthae and M. murinus) w...
Article
Full-text available
The socio-ecological model (SEM) links ecological factors with characteristics of social systems and allows predictions about the relationships between resource distribution, type of competition and social organisation. It has been mainly applied to group-living species but ought to explain variation in social organisation of solitary species as we...