Thermal effects on survival and reproductive performance vary according to personality type

Celine T. Goulet, Spencer J. Ingley, Inon Scharf, Jonathan N. Pruitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding the ecological and evolutionary consequences of individual behavioral variation has become a major focus in behavioral ecology, yet we still know remarkably little about how abiotic and biotic factors influence personality-dependent fitness trade-offs in naturally occurring systems. In particular, fitness trade-offs associated with abiotic factors remain underrepresented in the animal personality literature. Here, we examine the interacting effects of personality and temperature on survival and reproduction-both at the individual and colony level-using the socially polymorphic spider Anelosimus studiosus as a model system. Overall, temperature had a profound effect on survival and reproduction, but the effect differed according to both individual personality and the personality composition of colonies. Temperature was positively correlated with mortality rates but negatively correlated with reproductive rates in aggressive individuals, whereas the opposite was true in docile individuals. Colonies composed of either all aggressive or all docile individuals suffered reduced reproductive rates in high and low temperatures, respectively. In contrast, colonies composed of a mixture of aggressive and docile individuals performed equally well at both high and low temperatures, suggesting that some aspect of colony living helps buffer individuals with ill-suited personalities from environmental conditions that would otherwise lead to their demise. Our study demonstrates the need to consider both abiotic and biotic (i.e., social) context when assessing the impact of personality on fitness.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)1635-1641
Number of pages7
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016

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