A1 Journal article (refereed)
Social transmission in the wild can reduce predation pressure on novel prey signals (2021)

Hämäläinen, L., Hoppitt, W., Rowland, H. M., Mappes, J., Fulford, A. J., Sosa, S., & Thorogood, R. (2021). Social transmission in the wild can reduce predation pressure on novel prey signals. Nature Communications, 12, Article 3978. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24154-0

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Hämäläinen, Liisa; Hoppitt, William; Rowland, Hannah M.; Mappes, Johanna; Fulford, Anthony J.; Sosa, Sebastian; Thorogood, Rose

Journal or series: Nature Communications

eISSN: 2041-1723

Publication year: 2021

Publication date: 25/06/2021

Volume: 12

Article number: 3978

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24154-0

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Open Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/76978


Social transmission of information is taxonomically widespread and could have profound effects on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of animal communities. Demonstrating this in the wild, however, has been challenging. Here we show by field experiment that social transmission among predators can shape how selection acts on prey defences. Using artificial prey and a novel approach in statistical analyses of social networks, we find that blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) and great tit (Parus major) predators learn about prey defences by watching others. This shifts population preferences rapidly to match changes in prey profitability, and reduces predation pressure from naïve predators. Our results may help resolve how costly prey defences are maintained despite influxes of naïve juvenile predators, and suggest that accounting for social transmission is essential if we are to understand coevolutionary processes.

Keywords: animal behaviour; predation; social learning; cultural evolution; evolutionary ecology; blue tit; great tit

Free keywords: behavioural ecology; coevolution; cultural evolution; evolutionary ecology

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Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2021

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 13:37