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Personality differentiation along the invasion succession of the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in the Baltic Sea
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5050-2880
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.
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(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Biological invasions, or the movement of species beyond their native range to settle and breed in novel environments, are an ever-growing problem in many parts of the world. A particularly successful invader is the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), a benthic fish from the Ponto-Caspian region that invaded both the Baltic Sea and the Laurentian Great Lakes in 1990 and has since spread throughout most of Europe’s river systems and into rivers surrounding the Great Lakes. During the past decade, evidence has gathered for the importance of animal personality, or individual specific behavioral traits that display limited plasticity, in the invasion process. Individuals that disperse have been found less social, bolder, more active and to have a greater tendency to explore novel environments. With this study we are

the first to show that round gobies from newly established populations (~4 years) are less social, bolder and more active than those from populations that are older in the invasion succession (>20 years), thereby showing that individuals in newly established populations are not a random sample from the source population. Additionally, all behaviors were correlated indicating a behavioral syndrome in which behavioral adaptation for dispersal (less social, bolder and more active) is dominant in newly established populations. 

Keyword [en]
personality, behavioural syndromes, dispersal, round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, invasive fish, benthic fish
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
biology, Environmental Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-111906OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-111906DiVA: diva2:873972
Available from: 2015-11-25 Created: 2015-11-25 Last updated: 2015-11-26
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.
Keyword
Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), behaviour, animal personality, dispersal, species invasions, colonisation, spread, sociability, activity, boldness, aggression, cortisol coping-styles
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
biology
Identifiers
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)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2015-11-27 Created: 2015-11-25 Last updated: 2015-11-26Bibliographically approved

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Thorlacius, Magnus
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