What we’re reading: Jan 30, 2015

Behavioral Differences in Invasive Populations
Only a fraction of introduced species survive and establish in non-native habitat, and only a fraction of those will go on to become invasive. Understanding what makes a species capable of invasion is already a complex process, but this paper (open) adds a new dimension to think about: does behavior play a role for invasion success? The authors tested native and introduced populations of cane toads (Rhinella marina) for neophobia (fear of new situations) and found lower neophobia in the introduced populations.

Population Viability Analyses of Humans
Population viability analysis (PVA) is an important analysis for populations of threatened and endangered species that estimates extinction probability from a number of demographic factors including age structure, birth rate, and death rate. The authors of this paper (sub) applied PVA to 238 indigenous populations in Brazil. They found that population sizes crashed following European contact; however, they were able to rebound. Extinction probability varied with initial population size where populations greater than 500 had the lowest extinction probability.

How the Distribution of Resources Affects Animal Behavior
Resources are not evenly distributed across the landscape. In areas where resources are high, many individuals of a species can utilize those resources with minimum conflict. Thus the resource dispersion hypothesis suggests that animals that do this may then form the basis of group cooperatively and sociality. This paper (sub) reviews the evidence for this hypothesis and looks forward into how humans can use this knowledge moving forward with our own social organization.


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