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Mark Briffa


Speaker: Mark Briffa
Title: Animal Personality as a Cause and Consequence of Aggression
Affiliation: Plymouth University, UK
Date: Friday, February 27, 2015
Place and Time: Room 101, Love Building, 3:35-4:30 pm
Refreshments: Room 204, Love Building, 3:00 pm

Abstract. I review the evidence for links between consistent among-individual variation in behaviour (animal personality) and the ability to win contests over limited resources, focussing on recent experiments in hermit crabs and sea anemones. Proactive and bold behaviours often co-vary with contest behaviour and outcome, although there is evidence that the structure of these 'behavioural syndromes' can change across situations. Aggression itself is typically repeatable, but also subject to high within-individual variation as a consequence of plastic responses to previous fight and outcomes opponent traits. Common proximate mechanisms (gene expression, endocrine control and metabolic rates) may underpin variation in both contest behaviour and general personality traits. Given the theoretical links between the evolution of fighting and of personality (both may be driven by negative frequency dependent selection), longitudinal studies of contest behaviour, combining behavioural and physiological data, would be a fruitful context for the study of animal personalities.