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Personality predicts social dominance in male domestic fowl
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
2014 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 9, no 7, e103535Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Individuals in social species commonly form dominance relationships, where dominant individuals enjoy greater access to resources compared to subordinates. A range of factors such as sex, age, body size and prior experiences has to varying degrees been observed to affect the social status an individual obtains. Recent work on animal personality (i.e. consistent variation in behavioural responses of individuals) demonstrates that personality can co-vary with social status, suggesting that also behavioural variation can play an important role in establishment of status. We investigated whether personality could predict the outcome of duels between pairs of morphologically matched male domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus), a species where individuals readily form social hierarchies. We found that males that more quickly explored a novel arena, or remained vigilant for a longer period following the playback of a warning call were more likely to obtain a dominant position. These traits were uncorrelated to each other and were also uncorrelated to aggression during the initial part of the dominance-determining duel. Our results indicate that several behavioural traits independently play a role in the establishment of social status, which in turn can have implications for the reproductive success of different personality types.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 9, no 7, e103535
National Category
Zoology
Research subject
Ethology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-107998DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103535ISI: 000341307600059OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-107998DiVA: diva2:752931
Note

AuthorCount:3;

Available from: 2014-10-06 Created: 2014-10-06 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. The relationship between personality and social dominance in the domestic fowl – a critical perspective
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The relationship between personality and social dominance in the domestic fowl – a critical perspective
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Social dominance relationships are formed within numerous animal species and reduce costly fights over resources. Dominant individuals often enjoy greater access to important resources such as food and mating partners, and are generally more aggressive, bold, active and explorative compared to subdominant individuals. These behavioural traits can differ among individuals, but they can also be consistent within the individual, thereby describing the individual’s personality type. However, the causal direction of the observed correlation between dominance and personality is not well studied. One possibility is that some personality types have higher chances of obtaining a dominant social position. This would suggest that personality has consequences for fitness. Another possible explanation is that possessing different social positions gives rise to consistent behavioural differences among individuals on various timescales. If social status has a lasting effect on behaviour, social status would constitute a ‘stable state’ that explains some of the diversity of personality types that has been observed in a multitude of animal species. Dominance and personality may also share underlying proximate factors. In this thesis, I investigate the relationship between social dominance and personality using male domestic fowl, Gallus gallus domesticus. The species is group-living with pronounced dominance hierarchies, and dominance increases male access to mating partners. I show that some aspects of personality, exploration, vigilance and in particular aggressiveness, increased a male’s chances of obtaining dominance (paper III, IV, V), and that aggressiveness can be even more important than body weight and ornament size (comb size, paper V) or recent experience of winning or losing (paper IV). Winning a social interaction resulted in an increase in aggressiveness, while a decrease was seen in males that experienced a loss (paper IV). By observing behaviour before and after changes in male dominance relationships, I further show that a recent (2 days earlier) change in social status induced behavioural adjustments to the new social status in activity, exploration and vigilance (paper I). By extending the time of the new social relationship to 3 weeks, I show that such behavioural changes did not continue (paper II). Finally, I show that the social environment during juvenile development had little impact on adult male competitiveness (paper V). Social interactions appear to have several short-term effects on behaviour, but did not contribute significantly to variation and long-term consistency of personality in male fowl. Instead, a male's personality, and in particular his aggressiveness, affected the outcome of dominance interactions. Overall, my studies reveal important consequences of individual differences in behaviour, and contribute to the highly sought-after empirical testing of hypotheses explaining variation in animal personality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, 2017. 63 p.
Keyword
aggression, behavioural syndromes, chicken, Gallus gallus domesticus, intra-sexual selection, resource holding potential, social hierarchy, social rank
National Category
Behavioral Sciences Biology
Research subject
Ethology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-142348 (URN)978-91-7649-838-5 (ISBN)978-91-7649-839-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-16, sal E306, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Svante Arrhenius väg 20 C, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Manuscript. Paper 5: Manuscript.

Available from: 2017-05-22 Created: 2017-05-02 Last updated: 2017-05-18Bibliographically approved

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