Individually Consistent Behavioural Patterns in Wild, Breeding Male Grey Seals (Halichoerus grypus)

Abstract: Recent research demonstrates remarkable consistency in interindividual differences in behaviour patterns across time or across situations indicating that within populations, individuals have different behavioural types or personalities. Examples of behavioural consistency have been shown in taxa ranging from molluscs to mammals. However, there remain few such studies of wild populations and none of pinnipeds. This study presents preliminary evidence of behavioural types in wild male grey seals (Halichoerus grypus). Activity budget analyses revealed highly repeatable individual patterns of alertness across successive breeding seasons unrelated to local environmental context. While field studies of behavioural types can be challenging, it is essential to develop techniques for identifying behavioural types in natural populations in order to begin to understand the ecological and evolutionary relevance of animal personalities.

Key Words: behavioural type, behavioural plasticity, personality, fitness, pinniped

Document Type: Research article

DOI: 10.1578/AM.36.3.2010.234

Page Numbers: 234-238

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