Personality trait differences between mainland and island populations in the common frog (Rana temporaria)
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Understanding and predicting species range expansions is an important challenge in modern ecology because of rapidly changing environments. Recent studies have revealed that consistent within-species variation in behavior (i.e., animal personality) can be imperative for dispersal success, a key process in range expansion. Here we investigate how habitat isolation can mediate differentiation of personality traits between recently founded island populations and the main population. We performed laboratory studies of boldness and exploration across life stages (tadpoles and froglets) using four isolated island populations and four mainland populations of the common frog (Rana temporaria). Both tadpoles and froglets from isolated populations were bolder and more exploratory than conspecifics from the mainland. Although the pattern can be influenced by possible differences in predation pressure, we suggest that this behavioral differentiation might be the result of a disperser-dependent founder effect brought on by an isolation-driven environmental filtering of animal personalities. These findings can have important implications for both species persistence in the face of climate change (i.e., range expansions) and ecological invasions as well as for explaining rapid speciation in isolated patches.
KeywordsRange expansion Animal personality Colonization Dispersal Boldness
We would like to thank Kelly Weinersmith for valuable comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This research was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council to TB and FJ.
All procedures involving handling of frogs were permitted by the ethical committee on animal experiments in Umeå and comply with current Swedish law.
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