Personality, density and habitat drive the dispersal of invasive crayfish.
ABSTRACT: There is increasing evidence that personality traits may drive dispersal patterns of animals, including invasive species. We investigated, using the widespread signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus as a model invasive species, whether effects of personality traits on dispersal were independent of, or affected by, other factors including population density, habitat, crayfish size, sex and limb loss, along an invasion gradient. Behavioural traits (boldness, activity, exploration, willingness to climb) of 310 individually marked signal crayfish were measured at fully-established, newly-established and invasion front sites of two upland streams. After a period at liberty, recaptured crayfish were reassessed for behavioural traits (newly-established, invasion front). Dispersal distance and direction of crayfish movement, local population density, fine-scale habitat characteristics and crayfish size, sex and limb loss were also measured. Individual crayfish exhibited consistency in behavioural traits over time which formed a behavioural syndrome. Dispersal was both positively and negatively affected by personality traits, positively by local population density and negatively by refuge availability. No effect of size, sex and limb loss was recorded. Personality played a role in promoting dispersal but population density and local habitat complexity were also important determinants. Predicting biological invasion in animals is likely to require better integration of these processes.
Project description:Increasing evidence denotes the role of the microbiome in biological invasions, since it is known that microbes can affect the fitness of the host. Here, we demonstrate differences in the composition of an invader's microbiome along the invasion range, suggesting that its microbial communities may affect and be affected by range expansion. Using a 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing approach, we (i) analyzed the microbiomes of different tissues (exoskeleton, hemolymph, hepatopancreas, and intestine) of a successful freshwater invader, the signal crayfish, (ii) compared them to the surrounding water and sediment, and (iii) explored their changes along the invasion range. Exoskeletal, hepatopancreatic, and intestinal microbiomes varied between invasion core and invasion front populations. This indicates that they may be partly determined by population density, which was higher in the invasion core than in the invasion front. The highly diverse microbiome of exoskeletal biofilm was partly shaped by the environment (due to the similarity with the sediment microbiome) and partly by intrinsic crayfish parameters (due to the high proportion of exoskeleton-unique amplicon sequence variants [ASVs]), including the differences in invasion core and front population structure. Hemolymph had the most distinct microbiome compared to other tissues and differed between upstream (rural) and downstream (urban) river sections, indicating that its microbiome is potentially more driven by the effects of the abiotic environment. Our findings offer an insight into microbiome changes during dispersal of a successful invader and present a baseline for assessment of their contribution to an invader's overall health and its further invasion success. <b>IMPORTANCE</b> Invasive species are among the major drivers of biodiversity loss and impairment of ecosystem services worldwide, but our understanding of their invasion success and dynamics still has many gaps. For instance, although it is known that host-associated microbial communities may significantly affect an individual's health and fitness, the current studies on invasive species are mainly focused on pathogenic microbes, while the effects of the remaining majority of microbial communities on the invasion process are almost completely unexplored. We have analyzed the microbiome of one of the most successful crayfish invaders in Europe, the signal crayfish, and explored its changes along the signal crayfish invasion range in the Korana River, Croatia. Our study sets the perspective for future research required to assess the contribution of these changes to an individual's overall health status and resilience of dispersing populations and their impact on invasion success.
Project description:Dispersal propensity has been correlated with personality traits, conspecific density and predation risk in a variety of species. Thus, changes in the relative frequency of behavioural phenotypes or in the ecological pressures faced by individuals in contrasting habitats can have unexpected effects on their dispersal strategies. Here, using the burrowing owl Athene cunicularia as a study model, we test whether changes in the behavioural profile of individuals and changes in conspecific density and predation pressure associated with urban life influence their breeding dispersal decisions compared to rural conspecifics. Our results show that breeding dispersal behaviour differs between rural and urban individuals. Site fidelity was lower among rural than among urban birds, and primarily related to an individual's behaviours (fear of humans), which has been reported to reflect individual personality. In contrast, the main determinant of site fidelity among urban owls was conspecific density. After taking the decision of dispersing, urban owls moved shorter distances than rural ones, with females dispersing farther than males. Our results support a personality-dependent dispersal pattern that might vary with predation risk. However, as multiple individuals of two populations (one urban, one rural) were used for this research, differences can thus also be caused by other factors differing between the two populations. Further research is needed to properly understand the ecological and evolutionary consequences of changes in dispersal behaviours, especially in terms of population structuring and gene flow between urban and rural populations.
Project description:Individuals at the leading edge of expanding biological invasions often show distinctive phenotypic traits, in ways that enhance their ability to disperse rapidly and to function effectively in novel environments. Cane toads (Rhinella marina) at the invasion front in Australia exhibit shifts in morphology, physiology and behaviour (directionality of dispersal, boldness, risk-taking). We took a common-garden approach, raising toads from range-core and range-edge populations in captivity, to see if the behavioural divergences observed in wild-caught toads are also evident in common-garden offspring. Captive-raised toads from the invasion vanguard population were more exploratory and bolder (more prone to 'risky' behaviours) than toads from the range core, which suggests that these are evolved, genetic traits. Our study highlights the importance of behaviour as being potentially adaptive in invasive populations and adds these behavioural traits to the increasing list of phenotypic traits that have evolved rapidly during the toads' 80-year spread through tropical Australia.
Project description:Crayfish are a keystone species of freshwater ecosystems and a successful invasive species. However, their pathogens, including viruses, remain understudied. The aim of this study was to analyze the virome of the invasive signal crayfish (<i>Pacifastacus leniusculus</i>) and to elucidate the potential differences in viral composition and abundance along its invasion range in the Korana River, Croatia. By the high-throughput sequencing of ribosomal RNA, depleted total RNA isolated from the crayfish hepatopancreas, and subsequent sequence data analysis, we identified novel and divergent RNA viruses, including signal crayfish-associated reo-like, hepe-like, toti-like, and picorna-like viruses, phylogenetically related to viruses previously associated with crustacean hosts. The patterns of reads abundance and calculated nucleotide diversities of the detected viral sequences varied along the invasion range. This could indicate the possible influence of different factors and processes on signal crayfish virome composition: e.g., the differences in signal crayfish population density, the non-random dispersal of host individuals from the core to the invasion fronts, and the transfer of viruses from the native co-occurring and phylogenetically related crayfish species. The study reveals a high, previously undiscovered diversity of divergent RNA viruses associated with signal crayfish, and sets foundations for understanding the potential risk of virus transmissions as a result of this invader's dispersal.
Project description:As a population expands into novel areas (as occurs in biological invasions), the range edge becomes dominated by rapidly dispersing individuals-thereby accelerating the rate of population spread. That acceleration has been attributed to evolutionary processes (natural selection and spatial sorting), to which we add a third complementary process: behavioural plasticity. Encountering environmental novelty may directly elicit an increased rate of dispersal. When we reciprocally translocated cane toads (Rhinella marina) among study sites in southern Australia, the transported animals massively increased dispersal rates relative to residents (to an extent similar to the evolved increase between range-core versus invasion-front toad populations in Australia). The responses of these translocated toads show that even range-core toads are capable of the long-distance dispersal rates of invasion-front conspecifics and suggest that rapid dispersal (rather than evolving de novo) has simply been expanded from facultative to constitutive expression.
Project description: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 coevolution of these two traits. We report a negative association between natal dispersal and nest-defence (i.e. risk taking) behaviour at both 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.
Project description:Understanding dispersal is of prime importance in conservation and population biology. Individual traits related to motion and navigation during dispersal may differ: (1) among species differing in habitat distribution, which in turn, may lead to interspecific differences in the potential for and costs of dispersal, (2) among populations of a species that experiences different levels of habitat fragmentation; (3) among individuals differing in their dispersal strategy and (4) between the sexes due to sexual differences in behaviour and dispersal tendencies. In butterflies, the visual system plays a central role in dispersal, but exactly how the visual system is related to dispersal has received far less attention than flight morphology. We studied two butterfly species to explore the relationships between flight and eye morphology, and dispersal. We predicted interspecific, intraspecific and intersexual differences for both flight and eye morphology relative to i) species-specific habitat distribution, ii) variation in dispersal strategy within each species and iii) behavioural differences between sexes. However, we did not investigate for potential population differences. We found: (1) sexual differences that presumably reflect different demands on both male and female visual and flight systems, (2) a higher wing loading (i.e. a proxy for flight performance), larger eyes and larger facet sizes in the frontal and lateral region of the eye (i.e. better navigation capacities) in the species inhabiting naturally fragmented habitat compared to the species inhabiting rather continuous habitat, and (3) larger facets in the frontal region in dispersers compared to residents within a species. Hence, dispersers may have similar locomotory capacity but potentially better navigation capacity. Dispersal ecology and evolution have attracted much attention, but there are still significant gaps in our understanding of the mechanisms of dispersal. Unfortunately, for many species we lack detailed information on the role of behavioural, morphological and physiological traits for dispersal. Our novel study supports the existence of inter- and intra-specific evolutionary responses in both motion and navigation capacities (i.e. flight and eye morphology) linked to dispersal.
Project description:As is common in biological invasions, the rate at which cane toads (<i>Rhinella marina</i>) have spread across tropical Australia has accelerated through time. Individuals at the invasion front travel further than range-core conspecifics and exhibit distinctive morphologies that may facilitate rapid dispersal. However, the links between these morphological changes and locomotor performance have not been clearly documented. We used raceway trials and high-speed videography to document locomotor traits (e.g. hop distances, heights, velocities, and angles of take-off and landing) of toads from range-core and invasion-front populations. Locomotor performance varied geographically, and this variation in performance was linked to morphological features that have evolved during the toads' Australian invasion. Geographical variation in morphology and locomotor ability was evident not only in wild-caught animals, but also in individuals that had been raised under standardized conditions in captivity. Our data thus support the hypothesis that the cane toad's invasion across Australia has generated rapid evolutionary shifts in dispersal-relevant performance traits, and that these differences in performance are linked to concurrent shifts in morphological traits.
Project description:An emerging hypothesis of animal personality posits that animals choose the habitat that best fits their personality, and that the match between habitat and personality can facilitate population differentiation, and eventually speciation. However, behavioural plasticity and the adjustment of behaviours to new environments have been a classical explanation for such matching patterns. Using a population of dunnocks (Prunella modularis), we empirically tested whether personality or behavioural plasticity is responsible for the non-random distribution of shy and bold individuals in a heterogeneous environment. We found evidence for bold individuals settling in areas with high human disturbance, but also that birds became bolder with increasing age. Importantly, personality primarily determines the distribution of individuals, and behavioural adjustment over time contributes very little to the observed patterns. We cannot, however, exclude a possibility of very early behavioural plasticity (a type of developmental plasticity) shaping what we refer to as 'personality'. Nonetheless, our findings highlight the role personality plays in shaping population structure, lending support to the theory of personality-mediated speciation. Moreover, personality-matching habitat choice has important implications for population management and conservation.
Project description:In classical evolutionary theory, traits evolve because they facilitate organismal survival and/or reproduction. We discuss a different type of evolutionary mechanism that relies upon differential dispersal. Traits that enhance rates of dispersal inevitably accumulate at expanding range edges, and assortative mating between fast-dispersing individuals at the invasion front results in an evolutionary increase in dispersal rates in successive generations. This cumulative process (which we dub "spatial sorting") generates novel phenotypes that are adept at rapid dispersal, irrespective of how the underlying genes affect an organism's survival or its reproductive success. Although the concept is not original with us, its revolutionary implications for evolutionary theory have been overlooked. A range of biological phenomena (e.g., acceleration of invasion fronts, insular flightlessness, preadaptation) may have evolved via spatial sorting as well as (or rather than) by natural selection, and this evolutionary mechanism warrants further study.