The role of social and ecological processes in structuring animal populations: A case study from automated tracking of wild birds

D.R. Farine, J.A. Firth, L.M. Aplin, R.A. Crates, Antica Culina, Colin J. Garroway, C.A. Hinde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Both social and ecological factors influence population process and structure, with resultant consequences for phenotypic selection on individuals. Understanding the scale and relative contribution of these two factors is thus a central aim in evolutionary ecology. In this study, we develop a framework using null models to identify the social and spatial patterns that contribute to phenotypic structure in a wild population of songbirds. We used automated technologies to track 1053 individuals that formed 73 737 groups from which we inferred a social network. Our framework identified that both social and spatial drivers contributed to assortment in the network. In particular, groups had a more even sex ratio than expectedand exhibited a consistent age structure that suggested local association preferences, such as preferential attachment or avoidance. By contrast, recent immigrants were spatially partitioned from locally born individuals, suggesting differential dispersal strategies by phenotype. Our results highlight how different scales of social decision-making, ranging from post-natal dispersal settlement to fission–fusion dynamics, can interact to drive phenotypic structure in animal populations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number150057
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Volume2
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Dispersal
  • Great tit
  • Group living
  • Immigration
  • Paridae
  • Social organization

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    Data from: The role of social and ecological processes in structuring animal populations: a case study from automated tracking of wild birds

    Farine, D. R. (Creator), Firth, J. A. (Creator), Aplin, L. M. (Creator), Crates, R. A. (Creator), Culina, A. (Creator), Garroway, C. J. (Creator) & Hinde, C. (Creator), University of Oxford, 21 Mar 2015

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    Cite this

    Farine, D. R., Firth, J. A., Aplin, L. M., Crates, R. A., Culina, A., Garroway, C. J., & Hinde, C. A. (2015). The role of social and ecological processes in structuring animal populations: A case study from automated tracking of wild birds. Royal Society Open Science, 2(4), [150057]. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsos.150057