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      Quantifying individual variation in behaviour: mixed-effect modelling approaches.

      The Journal of Animal Ecology
      Animals, Behavior, Animal, Ecosystem, Models, Biological, Reproducibility of Results, Research Design

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          Abstract

          Growing interest in proximate and ultimate causes and consequences of between- and within-individual variation in labile components of the phenotype - such as behaviour or physiology - characterizes current research in evolutionary ecology. The study of individual variation requires tools for quantification and decomposition of phenotypic variation into between- and within-individual components. This is essential as variance components differ in their ecological and evolutionary implications. We provide an overview of how mixed-effect models can be used to partition variation in, and correlations among, phenotypic attributes into between- and within-individual variance components. Optimal sampling schemes to accurately estimate (with sufficient power) a wide range of repeatabilities and key (co)variance components, such as between- and within-individual correlations, are detailed. Mixed-effect models enable the usage of unambiguous terminology for patterns of biological variation that currently lack a formal statistical definition (e.g. 'animal personality' or 'behavioural syndromes'), and facilitate cross-fertilisation between disciplines such as behavioural ecology, ecological physiology and quantitative genetics. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Animal Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society.

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          Unrepeatable Repeatabilities: A Common Mistake

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            Behavioural reaction norms: animal personality meets individual plasticity

            Recent studies in the field of behavioural ecology have revealed intriguing variation in behaviour within single populations. Increasing evidence suggests that individual animals differ in their average level of behaviour displayed across a range of contexts (animal 'personality'), and in their responsiveness to environmental variation (plasticity), and that these phenomena can be considered complementary aspects of the individual phenotype. How should this complex variation be studied? Here, we outline how central ideas in behavioural ecology and quantitative genetics can be combined within a single framework based on the concept of 'behavioural reaction norms'. This integrative approach facilitates analysis of phenomena usually studied separately in terms of personality and plasticity, thereby enhancing understanding of their adaptive nature. Copyright 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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              Animal personalities: consequences for ecology and evolution.

              Personality differences are a widespread phenomenon throughout the animal kingdom. Past research has focused on the characterization of such differences and a quest for their proximate and ultimate causation. However, the consequences of these differences for ecology and evolution received much less attention. Here, we strive to fill this gap by providing a comprehensive inventory of the potential implications of personality differences, ranging from population growth and persistence to species interactions and community dynamics, and covering issues such as social evolution, the speed of evolution, evolvability, and speciation. The emerging picture strongly suggests that personality differences matter for ecological and evolutionary processes (and their interaction) and, thus, should be considered a key dimension of ecologically and evolutionarily relevant intraspecific variation. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                23171297
                10.1111/1365-2656.12013

                Chemistry
                Animals,Behavior, Animal,Ecosystem,Models, Biological,Reproducibility of Results,Research Design

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