Evolutionary Ecology
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Marion Nicolaus

Dr. Marion Nicolaus

Research Project

Fitness consequences of personality and behavioural plasticity in wild passerine populations

My research focuses on the fitness consequences of individual differences in personality and behavioural plasticity in wild great tits. First, I am testing experimentally whether individual consistent differences in suites of risk-taking behaviours represent adaptive variation tuned to individual ‘state’. Second, I am investigating whether personality and behavioural plasticity are correlated and how natural selection acts on these two components. Using long-term data of great tit populations, I am exploring whether individuals differ in their mean behaviour and in their plastic adjustment of behaviour to environmental changes. The existence of pedigree information allows me to further quantify the environmental and genetic sources of variation in behaviours using quantitative genetic tools. Third, I am investigating whether personality-related differences in behavioural plasticity is explained by personality-related differences in (personal vs. social) information use.