Natural selection is expected to favour the integration of dispersal and phenotypic traits allowing individuals to reduce dispersal costs. Accordingly, associations have been found between dispersal and personality traits such as aggressiveness and exploration, which may facilitate settlement in a novel environment. However, the determinism of these associations has only rarely been explored. Here, we highlight the functional integration of individual personality in nest-defence behaviour and natal dispersal propensity in a long-lived colonial bird, the Alpine swift (Apus melba), providing insights into genetic constraints shaping the co-evolution of these two traits. We report a negative association between natal dispersal and nest-defence (i.e. risk taking) behaviour both at the phenotypic and genetic level. This negative association may result from direct selection if risk-averseness benefits natal dispersers by reducing the costs of settlement in an unfamiliar environment, or from indirect selection if individuals with lower levels of nest-defence also show lower levels of aggressiveness, reducing costs of settlement among unfamiliar neighbours in a colony. In both cases, these results highlight that risk-taking is an important behavioural trait to consider in the study of dispersal evolution.
|Early online date||26 Jul 2017|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2017|
- dispersal costs
- personality trait
- behavioural syndrome
- Apus melba