Consistent behavioural variation between individuals of the same species (i.e. animal personality) is very common in animals, from mammals to fish and insects. Personality types like boldness/shyness can change how the individual interacts with its environment, e.g. the outcome of predator-prey interactions. However, the effects of widespread personality variability on ecosystems is relatively unexplored. Recent work shows that personality variability can alter the nature of trophic interactions between species and potentially contribute to ecosystem stability. Therefore, PinCER will investigate animal personality as a functional trait, quantifying links between personality (e.g. boldness, exploration etc.) and diet, trophic position and body condition in individual animals. By quantifying the degree that personality variability translates to functional diversity in food webs, PinCER will provide unprecedented insights into the effects of personality on ecosystems. Building on the experimental work, a review paper will also investigate existing empirical literature on behavioural variability’s role in species interactions.
Experimental work will focus on the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), analysing the links between personality and trophic interactions across an ecological invasion gradient. The round goby is an invasive fish in the Baltic Sea and European inlet waters and a proven study subject for behavioural research. Results will also have management implications, giving highly focused individual data on the species’ impacts on Baltic Sea communities. A full-time secondment in the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission (Helsinki Commission) will focus on invasive species policy (management of ship-mediated introductions of non-indigenous species, e.g. the round goby) enhancing my training and career prospects. As such, PinCER will advance behavioural and community ecology, meet my skill acquisition needs and produce data for ecosystem management.
Field of science
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology/ecosystems
- /natural sciences/biological sciences/ecology/invasive species
Call for proposal
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