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Behavioral dependent dispersal in the invasive round goby Neogobius melanostomus depends on population age
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2015 (English)In: Current Zoology, ISSN 1674-5507, Vol. 61, no 3, 529-542 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Biological invasions cause major ecological and economic costs in invaded habitats. The round goby Neogobius melanostomus is a successful invasive species and a major threat to the biodiversity and ecological function of the Baltic Sea. It is native to the Ponto-Caspian region and has, via ballast water transport of ships, invaded the Gulf of Gdansk in Poland. Since 1990, it has spread as far north as Raahe in Northern Finland (64 degrees 41'04"N, 24 degrees 28'44"E). Over the past decade, consistent individual differences of behavioral expressions have been shown to explain various ecological processes such as dispersal, survival or reproduction. We have previously shown that new and old populations differ in personality trait expression. Individuals in new populations are bolder, less sociable and more active than in old populations. Here we investigate if the behavioral differentiation can be explained by phenotype-dependent dispersal. This was investigated by measuring activity, boldness and sociability of individually marked gobies, and subsequently allowing them to disperse in a system composed of five consecutive tanks connected by tubes. Individual dispersal tendency and distance was measured. Our results revealed that in newly established populations, more active individuals disperse sooner and that latency of a group to disperse depends on the mean sociability of the group. This indicates the presence of personality dependent dispersal in this species and that it is maintained at the invasion front but lost as the populations get older.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 61, no 3, 529-542 p.
Keyword [en]
Personality, Activity, Dispersal, Round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, Species invasions
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-106570ISI: 000356968400015OAI: diva2:842482
Available from: 2015-07-20 Created: 2015-07-20 Last updated: 2015-11-26Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Round goby invasion of the Baltic Sea: the role of phenotypic variation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Round goby invasion of the Baltic Sea: the role of phenotypic variation
2015 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Biological invasions are a major threat to biodiversity world wide with annual economic costs up to 1.4 trillion dollars. The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is a particularly fierce invader that threatens ecological function of the Baltic Sea. Individual variation in behavioral traits that remain constant through time and context have been identified as crucial factors for explaining different parts of the invasion process. For example, asocial behavior facilitates dispersal from high density populations and comes with fitness benefits in low conspecific density. The latter is especially relevant, in an invasion context, following the initial colonization of a novel environment when population density usually is low.

This thesis investigates the role of individual variation in phenotypic traits on species invasions. The main focus is on the effects of sociability, activity and boldness, but also including aggression and physiological stress tolerance, on dispersal tendency and selection at invasion fronts. To do this, we studied four round goby populations in the Baltic Sea, two of the most recently established and two of the oldest populations.

In 2012 we demonstrated that asocial, active and bold round gobies are overrepresented at invasion fronts. Two years later we showed that dispersal from the new populations was led by individuals with high activity levels, while in all populations larger individuals dispersed. We also determined the length of the socalled lag-phase, between colonization and spread, in both newly established populations. The end of the lag-phase is hypothesized being triggered by high population density in the harbors leading to dispersal and subsequen colonization of the surrounding areas by small asocial individuals. In our final experiment, we present evidence of stress coping styles in round gobies, in which more aggressive individuals are also more stress tolerant and vice versa. Though we found no connection between stress coping and population age, we found that mortality was unaffected by population density and that the gobies became more aggressive and stress tolerant when kept in high density.

To conclude, we have shown that: 1) individuals with high levels of activity, boldness and asociality are common at invasion fronts; 2) a lag phase occurs between colonization and spread in round goby invasions; 3) asocial individuals drive the spread from high density populations at the invasion front and; 4) round gobies adapt to high densities with high aggression and stress tolerance. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå University, 2015. 40 p.
Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), behaviour, animal personality, dispersal, species invasions, colonisation, spread, sociability, activity, boldness, aggression, cortisol coping-styles
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-111910 (URN)978-91-7601-328-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2015-12-18, KB3B1, Linnaeus väg 6, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2015-11-27 Created: 2015-11-25 Last updated: 2015-11-26Bibliographically approved

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Thorlacius, MagnusHellström, GustavBrodin, Tomas
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