A1 Journal article (refereed)
Should dispersers be fast learners? : Modeling the role of cognition in dispersal syndromes (2021)

Liedtke, J., & Fromhage, L. (2021). Should dispersers be fast learners? : Modeling the role of cognition in dispersal syndromes. Ecology and Evolution, 11(20), 14293-14302. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8145

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Liedtke, Jannis; Fromhage, Lutz

Journal or series: Ecology and Evolution

eISSN: 2045-7758

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 22/09/2021

Volume: 11

Issue number: 20

Pages range: 14293-14302

Publisher: John Wiley & Sons

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.8145

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/77911


Both cognitive abilities and dispersal tendencies can vary strongly between individuals. Since cognitive abilities may help dealing with unknown circumstances, it is conceivable that dispersers may rely more heavily on learning abilities than residents. However, cognitive abilities are costly and leaving a familiar place might result in losing the advantage of having learned to deal with local conditions. Thus, individuals which invested in learning to cope with local conditions may be better off staying at their natal place. In order to disentangle the complex relationship between dispersal and learning abilities, we implemented individual-based simulations. By allowing for developmental plasticity, individuals could either become a 'resident' or 'dispersal' cognitive phenotype. The model showed that in general residents have higher learning abilities than dispersers. Dispersers evolve higher learning ability than residents when dispersers have long life spans and when dispersal occurs either early or late in life, thereby maximizing the time in one habitat patch. Time is crucial here, because the longer an individual resides in a location where it can use its learned knowledge or behavior, the more often it profits from it and thus eventually obtains a net benefit from its investment into learning. Both, longevity and the timing of dispersal within lifecycles determine the time individuals have to recoup that investment and thus crucially influence this correlation. We therefore suggest that species' life history will strongly impact the expected cognitive abilities of dispersers, relative to their resident conspecifics, and that cognitive abilities might be an integral part of dispersal syndromes.

Keywords: spreading (process); animal behaviour; cognition; learning; life cycle (natural science); variation (biology); evolution; mathematical models

Free keywords: behavior syndromes; cognition; cognitive styles; invasion; life history; pace of life

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Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 12:04