Individual consistency in the behaviors of newly-settled reef fish

White, James R., Meekan, Mark G., and McCormick, Mark I. (2015) Individual consistency in the behaviors of newly-settled reef fish. PeerJ, 3. e931. pp. 1-17.

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Flexibility in behavior is advantageous for organisms that transition between stages of a complex life history. However, various constraints can set limits on plasticity, giving rise to the existence of personalities that have associated costs and benefits. Here, we document a field and laboratory experiment that examines the consistency of measures of boldness, activity, and aggressive behavior in the young of a tropical reef fish, Pomacentrus amboinensis (Pomacentridae) immediately following their transition between pelagic larval and benthic juvenile habitats. Newly-settled fish were observed in aquaria and in the field on replicated patches of natural habitat cleared of resident fishes. Seven behavioral traits representing aspects of boldness, activity and aggression were monitored directly and via video camera over short (minutes), medium (hours), and long (3 days) time scales. With the exception of aggression, these behaviors were found to be moderately or highly consistent over all time scales in both laboratory and field settings, implying that these fish show stable personalities within various settings. Our study is the first to examine the temporal constancy of behaviors in both field and laboratory settings in over various time scales at a critically important phase during the life cycle of a reef fish.

Item ID: 41752
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2167-8359
Keywords: behavioral syndrome, settlement, personality, repeatability, boldness, aggression, activity
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© 2015 White et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0

Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC CoE for Coral Reef Studies
Projects and Grants: ARC Discovery grant CE140100020, ARC CoE DP120101993
Date Deposited: 08 Dec 2015 15:38
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060201 Behavioural Ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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