- Department of Biology, Whitman College, Walla Walla, United States of America
- Behaviour & Ethology, Competition, Conservation biology, Demography, Evolutionary ecology, Experimental ecology, Life history, Meta-analyses, Preregistrations, Terrestrial ecology, Zoology
Implementing a rapid geographic range expansion - the role of behavior and habitat changes
The role of behavior and habitat availability on species geographic expansion
Understanding the relative importance of species-specific traits and environmental factors in modulating species distributions is an intriguing question in ecology . Both behavioral flexibility (i.e., the ability to change the behavior in changing circumstances) and habitat availability are known to influence the ability of a species to expand its geographic range [2,3]. However, the role of each factor is context and species dependent and more information is needed to understand how these two factors interact.
In this pre-registration, Logan et al.  explain how they will use Great-tailed grackles (Quiscalus mexicanus), a species with a flexible behavior and a rapid geographic range expansion, to evaluate the relative role of habitat and behavior as drivers of the species’ expansion . The authors present very clear hypotheses, predicted results and also include alternative predictions. The rationales for all the hypotheses are clearly stated, and the methodology (data and analyses plans) are described with detail. The large amount of information already collected by the authors for the studied species during previous projects warrants the success of this study. It is also remarkable that the authors will make all their data available in a public repository, and that the pre-registration in already stored in GitHub, supporting open access and reproducible science.
I agree with the three reviewers of this pre-registration about its value and I think its quality has largely improved during the review process. Thus, I am happy to recommend it and I am looking forward to seeing the results.
 Gaston KJ. 2003. The structure and dynamics of geographic ranges. Oxford series in Ecology and Evolution. Oxford University Press, New York.
 Sol D, Lefebvre L. 2000. Behavioural flexibility predicts invasion success in birds introduced to new zealand. Oikos. 90(3): 599–605. doi: https://doi.org/10.1034/j.1600-0706.2000.900317.x
 Hanski I, Gilpin M. 1991. Metapopulation dynamics: Brief history and conceptual domain. Biological journal of the Linnean Society. 42(1-2): 3–16. doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8312.1991.tb00548.x
 Logan CJ, McCune KB, Breen A, Chen N, Lukas D. 2020. Implementing a rapid geographic range expansion - the role of behavior and habitat changes (http://corinalogan.com/Preregistrations/gxpopbehaviorhabitat.html) In principle acceptance by PCI Ecology of the version on 6 Oct 2020 https://github.com/corinalogan/grackles/blob/master/Files/Preregistrations/gxpopbehaviorhabitat.Rmd.