Logo Logo
Switch Language to German

Mouchet, Alexia and Dingemanse, Niels J. (2021): A quantitative genetics approach to validate lab- versus field-based behavior in novel environments. In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 32, No. 5: pp. 903-911

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


Conclusions about the adaptive nature of repeatable variation in behavior (i.e., personality) are often derived from laboratory-based assays. However, the expression of genetic variation differs between laboratory and field. Laboratory-based behavior might not predict field-based behavior thus, cross-context validation is required. We estimated the cross-context correlation between behavior expressed by wild great tits (Parus major) in established laboratory versus field novel environment assays. Both assays have been used as proxies for exploration tendency. Behavior in both contexts had similar repeatability (R = 0.35 vs. 0.37) but differed in heritability (h(2) = 0.06 vs. 0.23), implying differences in selection pressures. Unexpectedly, there was no cross-context correlation. Laboratory- and field-based behavior thus reflected expressions of two distinct underlying characters. Post hoc simulations revealed that sampling bias did not explain the lack of correlation. Laboratory-based behavior may reflect fear and exploration, but field-based behavior may reflect escape behavior instead, though other functional interpretations cannot be excluded. Thus, in great tits, activity expressed in laboratory versus field novel environment assays is modulated by multiple quasi-independent characters. The lack of cross-context correlation shown here may also apply to other setups, other repeatable behaviors, and other taxa. Our study thus implies care should be taken in labeling behaviors prior to firm validation studies.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item