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Implementing a rapid geographic range expansion - the role of behavior and habitat changesuse asterix (*) to get italics
Logan CJ, McCune KB, Chen N, Lukas DPlease use the format "First name initials family name" as in "Marie S. Curie, Niels H. D. Bohr, Albert Einstein, John R. R. Tolkien, Donna T. Strickland"
<p>It is generally thought that behavioral flexibility, the ability to change behavior when circumstances change, plays an important role in the ability of a species to rapidly expand their geographic range (e.g., Lefebvre et al. (1997), Griffin and Guez (2014), Chow et al. (2016), Sol and Lefebvre (2000), Sol et al. (2002), Sol et al. (2005), Sol et al. (2007)). However, it is an alternative non-exclusive possibility that an increase in the amount of available habitat can also facilitate a range expansion (Hanski and Gilpin 1991; Wiens 1997). Great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus) are a social, polygamous species that is rapidly expanding its geographic range (Wehtje 2003) and eats a variety of human foods in addition to foraging on insects and on the ground for other natural food items (Johnson and Peer 2001). They are behaviorally flexible (CJ Logan 2016) and highly associated with human-modified environments (Johnson and Peer 2001), thus offering an opportunity to assess the role of behavior and habitat change over the course of their expansion. We first aim to compare behavior in wild-caught grackles from three populations across their range (core of the original range, a more recent population in the middle of the northern expansion front, a very recent population on the northern edge of the expansion front) to investigate whether: 1) certain behaviors (flexibility, innovativeness, exploration, and persistence) have higher averages and variances in some populations relative to others, and 2) individuals in a more recently established population exhibit more dispersal behavior (i.e., individuals are more likely to move away from their parents). Secondly, we aim to investigate whether habitat availability, not necessarily inherent species differences, can explain why great-tailed grackles are able to much more rapidly expand their range than their closest relative, boat-tailed grackles (Q. major) (Post et al. 1996; Wehtje 2003). We will examine temporal habitat changes over the past few decades using existing databases on presence/absence of both grackle species and compare habitat variables to determine whether: 3) these species use different habitats, habitat suitability and connectivity (which combined determines whether habitat is available) has increased across their range, and what proportion of suitable habitat both species occupy. Results will elucidate whether the rapid geographic range expansion of great-tailed grackles is associated with individuals differentially expressing particular behaviors and/or whether the expansion is facilitated by the alignment of their natural behaviors with an increase in suitable habitat (i.e., human-modified environments).</p>
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birds, great-tailed grackle, boat-tailed grackle, behavior, flexibility, reversal learning, innovation, puzzle box, exploration, persistence, dispersal behavior, relatedness, ecological niche model
Behaviour & Ethology, Biological invasions, Dispersal & Migration, Foraging, Habitat selection, Human impact, Phenotypic plasticity, Preregistrations, Zoology
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2020-05-14 11:18:57
Esther Sebastián González
Anonymous, Caroline Marie Jeanne Yvonne Nieberding, Tim Parker