Interaction between dispersal and behavioural syndromes - empirical approach in a fragmented population of passerine birds

University dissertation from University of Lyon1, Frankrike

Abstract: Dispersal is a key life history trait for ecological and evolutionary processes in wild populations. The latest research has particularly focused on the correlation between behavioural traits and dispersal, in order to emphasize the existence of behavioural syndromes of dispersal, and on the estimation of the genetic basis of the dispersal behaviour. Dispersing individuals are not a random part of the population, but are individuals showing particular strategies, that help them to succeed in their dispersal attempt.This thesis has three main aims of research. The first is to show a genetic basis of the dispersal propensity in a fragmented population of collared flycatchers (Ficedulla albicollis). We show, not only, the genetic bases of the dispersal, but also a non-random spatial distribution of relationship between individuals in this population, that might be due to genetic effects on the decision rules of habitat choice in this population. The second aim concerns phenotypic and a genetic correlation between the natal dispersal and a behavioural trait, the nest-defense behaviour, in the alpin swift (Tachymarptis melba). We showed that natal dispersal and nest-defense behaviour were negatively correlated at a phenotypic level, but also at a genetic level in these populations. Finally, the third aim attempts to test the existence of a behavioural syndrome of dispersal, that is if dispersing individuals have a particular behavioural profile, which enable them to colonize new sites, in the collared flycatcher.