Advertisement

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 65, Issue 5, pp 1061–1069 | Cite as

Highly dynamic fission–fusion species can exhibit leadership when traveling

  • Jennifer S. Lewis
  • Douglas Wartzok
  • Michael R. Heithaus
Original Paper

Abstract

Leadership by specific individuals is thought to enhance the fitness of followers by allowing them to take advantage of the knowledge or skills of key individuals. In general, consistent leadership is expected to occur primarily in stable groups of related individuals where the benefits enhance the inclusive fitness of a leader. Societies with less stability in group composition (i.e., fission–fusion groups) are less likely to feature unshared decision making. However, in situations where frequent interactions among individuals occur (e.g., small population size and small range of movement) and/or the complexity of the environment requires substantial experience and knowledge, consistent leadership might be expected. We tested if a highly dynamic fission–fusion population of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), inhabiting a complex environment, exhibited leadership when traveling. A small number of specific individuals led group travel more often than expected by chance, and were more likely to initiate successful direction changes of groups than following individuals. The number of leaders in a group remained relatively constant across a wide range of group sizes and was not affected by the number of potential leaders (i.e., those that had led previously) present in the group. Together, these results suggest that leadership can occur in species with high rates of group fission and fusion. Therefore, the loss of key individuals could have disproportionate effects on population dynamics.

Keywords

Bottlenose dolphin Decision making Fission–fusion Group movement Group size Leadership 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Financial support for this project came from Sigma Xi, Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida International University Graduate Student Association and Project Aware. In-kind support was provided by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Office of Key West, Florida and the Key West City Marina of Key West, Florida. J. Lewis was supported in part during the writing of this manuscript by the Florida International University Dissertation Year Fellowship. We thank all volunteer interns who gave assistance in the field and in the lab, the US Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration for allowing us to use the airspace around the island of Key West, Florida, and finally, Mote Marine Lab's Dolphin Biology Research Institute for allowing us to view and analyze overhead footage of Sarasota, Florida dolphins for pilot analysis. Improvements in the manuscript were made, thanks to helpful review by Maureen Donnelly, Andrew King, Dan Odell, Brooke Sargeant, Bennett Schwartz, and an anonymous reviewer. This research was conducted under NMFS Level B Letter of Confirmation No. 572-1639 and FIU IACUC No. 03-020.

References

  1. Altmann J (1974) Observational study of behavior: sampling methods. Behaviour 49:227–267. doi: 10.1163/156853974X00534 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barco SG, Swingle WM, Mclellan WA, Harris RN, Pabst DA (1999) Local abundance and distribution of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in the nearshore waters of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Mar Mamm Sci 15:394–408. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.1999.tb00809.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barelli C, Boesch C, Heistermann M, Reichard UH (2008) Female white-handed gibbons (Hylobates lar) lead group movements and have priority of access to food resources. Behaviour 145:965–981. doi: 10.1163/156853908784089243 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Caraco T, Giraldeau L (1991) Social foraging: producing and scrounging in a stochastic environment. J Theor Biol 153(4):559–583. doi: 10.1016/S0022-5193(05)80156-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Connor RC, Smolker RA, Richards AF (1992) Two levels of alliance formation among bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops sp.). Proc Natl Acad Sci 89:987–990. doi: 10.1073/pnas.89.3.987
  6. Connor RC, Heithaus MR, Barre LM (2001) Complex social structure, alliance stability and mating success in a bottlenose dolphin “super-alliance”. Proc Biol Sci 268:263–267. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2000.1357 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Conradt L, Roper TJ (2005) Consensus decision making in animals. Trends Ecol Evol 20(8):449–456. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2005.05.008 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Conradt L, Krause J, Couzin ID, Roper TJ (2009) “Leading according to need” in self-organizing groups. Am Nat 173(3):304–312. doi: 10.1086/596532 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Couzin ID, Krause J, Franks NR, Levin SA (2005) Effective leadership and decision-making in animal groups on the move. Nature 433:513–516. doi: 10.1038/nature03236 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Daniel WW (1990) Applied nonparametric statistics. PWS-Kent Publishing Boston, MAGoogle Scholar
  11. Defran RH, Weller DW (1998) Occurrence, distribution, site fidelity and school size of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) off San Diego, California. Mar Mamm Sci 15:366–380. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.1999.tb00807.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Di Bitetti MS, Janson CH (2001) Social foraging and the finder's share in capuchin monkeys, Cebus apella. Anim Behav 62:47–56. doi: 10.1006/anbe.2000.1730 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Dyer JRG, Ioannou CC, Morrell LJ, Croft DP, Couzin ID, Waters DA, Krause J (2008) Consensus decision making in human crowds. Anim Behav 75:461–470. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.05.010 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Erhart EM, Overdorff DJ (1999) Female coordination of group travel in wild Propithecus and Eulemur. Int J Primatol 20(6):927–940. doi: 10.1023/A:1020830703012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Fischhoff IR, Sundaresan SR, Cordingley J, Larkin HM, Sellier MJ, Rubenstein DI (2007) Social relationships and reproductive state influence leadership roles in movements of plains zebra, Equus burchellii. Anim Behav 73(5):825–831. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2006.10.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Heithaus MR, Dill LM (2002) Food availability and tiger shark predation risk influence bottlenose dolphin habitat use. Ecology 83(2):480–491. doi: 10.1890/0012-9658(2002)083[0480:FAATSP]2.0.CO;2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hölldobler B, Wilson EO (1990) The ants. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  18. Hubard CW (1998) Abundance, distribution, and site fidelity of bottlenose dolphins in Mississippi Sound. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AlabamaGoogle Scholar
  19. Jacobs A (2008) The influence of social organisation on leadership in brown lemurs (Eulemur fulvus fulvus) in a controlled environment. Behav Process 79(2):111–113. doi: 10.1016/j.beproc.2008.05.004 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. King AJ, Douglas CMS, Huchard E, Issac NJB, Cowlishaw G (2008) Dominance and affiliation mediate despotism in a social primate. Curr Biol 18(23):1833–1838. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2008.10.048 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. King AJ, Johnson DDP, Van Vugt M (2009) The origins and evolution of leadership. Curr Biol 19:R911–R916. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2009.07.027 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Krause J, Ruxton GD (2002) Living in groups. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Krause J, Reeves P, Hoare D (1998) Positioning behaviour in roach shoals: the role of body length and nutritional state. Behaviour 135:1031–1039Google Scholar
  24. Levin LE (1996) Passage order through different pathways in groups of schooling fish, and the diversified leadership hypothesis. Behav Process 37(1):1–8. doi: 10.1016/0376-6357(95)00067-4 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lewis JS (2002) Behavioral comparison of two populations of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) in Florida waters. University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AlabamaGoogle Scholar
  26. Litz JA, Garrison LP, Fieber LA, Martinez A, Contillo JP, Kucklicks JR (2007) Fine-scale spatial variation of persistent organic pollutants in bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Biscayne Bay, Florida. Environ Sci Technol 41(21):7222–7228. doi: 10.1021/es070440r PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lusseau D, Conradt L (2009) The emergence of unshared consensus decisions in bottlenose dolphins. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 63(7):1067–1077. doi: 10.1007/s00265-009-0740-7 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Manly BFJ (2006) Randomization, bootstrap and Monte Carlo methods in biology. Chapman and Hall/CRC, Boca RatonGoogle Scholar
  29. McComb K, Moss C, Durant SM, Baker L, Sayialel S (2001) Matriarchs as repositories of social knowledge in African elephants. Science 292(5516):491–494. doi: 10.1126/science.1057895 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Milton K (2000) Quo vadis? Tactics of food search and group movement in primates and other animals. In: Boinski S, Garber PA (eds) On the move. The University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  31. Nowacek SM, Wells RS, Solow AR (2001) Short-term effects of boat traffic on bottlenose dolphins, Tursiops truncatus, in Sarasota Bay, Florida. Mar Mamm Sci 17(4):673–688. doi: 10.1111/j.1748-7692.2001.tb01292.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Overdorff DJ, Erhart EM, Mutschler T (2005) Does female dominance facilitate feeding priority in black-and-white ruffed lemurs (Varecia variegata) in southeastern Madagascar? Am J Primatol 66:7–22. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20125 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Payne K (2003) Sources of social complexity in the three elephant species. In: de Waal FBM, Tyack PL (eds) Animal social complexity: intelligence, culture, and individualized societies. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, pp 57–85Google Scholar
  34. Peterson RO, Jacobs AK, Drummer TD, Mech LD, Smith DW (2002) Leadership behavior in relation to dominance and reproductive status in gray wolves, Canis lupus. Can J Zool 80(8):1405–1412. doi: 10.1139/z02-124 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rasa OAE (1987) The dwarf mongoose: A study of behavior and social structure in relation to ecology in a small social carnivore. Adv Study Behav 17:121–163. doi: 10.1016/S0065-3454(08)60178-3 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Reebs SG (2000) Can a minority of informed leaders determine the foraging movements of a fish shoal? Anim Behav 59:403–409. doi: 10.1006/anbe.1999.1314 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Šárová R, Špinka M, Panamá JLA (2007) Synchronization and leadership in switches between resting and activity in a beef cattle herd—a case study. Appl Anim Behav Sci 108(3):327–331. doi: 10.1016/j.applanim.2007.01.009 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Shane S (1990) Behaviour and ecology of the bottlenose dolphin at Sanibel Island, Florida. In: Leatherwood S, Reeves RR (eds) The bottlenose dolphin. Academic Press, San Diego, pp 245–265Google Scholar
  39. Sih A, Watters JV (2005) The mix matters: behavioural types and group dynamics in water striders. Behaviour 142(10):1417–1431. doi: 10.1163/156853905774539454 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stueckle S, Zinner D (2008) To follow or not to follow: decision making and leadership during the morning departure in Chacma baboons. Anim Behav 75(6):1995–2004. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2007.12.012 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Tabachnick BG, Fidell L (1996) Using multivariate statistics. HarperCollins, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Viljoen PJ (1990) Daily movements of desert dwelling elephants in the northern Namib Desert. S Afr J Wild Res 20(2):69–72Google Scholar
  43. Watson-Capps JJ, Mann J (2005) The effects of aquaculture on bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops sp.) ranging in Shark Bay, Western Australia. Biol Conserv 124(4):519–526. doi: 10.1016/j.biocon.2005.03.001 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Wood C (1998) Movement of bottlenose dolphins around the south-west coast of Britain. J Zool 246(2):155–163. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1998.tb00144.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Würsig B, Würsig M (1977) The photographic determination of group size, composition, and stability of coastal porpoises (Tursiops truncatus). Science 198(4318):755–756. doi: 10.1126/science.198.4318.755 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer S. Lewis
    • 1
  • Douglas Wartzok
    • 1
  • Michael R. Heithaus
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  2. 2.Marine Sciences ProgramFlorida International UniversityNorth MiamiUSA

Personalised recommendations