Sol D., Griffin A.S., Bartomeus I. (2012) Consumer and motor innovation in the common myna: The role of motivation and emotional responses. Animal Behaviour. 83: 179-188.EnlaceDoi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.10.024
Behavioural innovation is believed to be an important way in which animals devise solutions to new problems, yet the factors underpinning individual differences in innovation remain unclear. Here, we asked how motivational states and emotional responses to novelty shape the innovation process with a series of experiments in common mynas, Sturnus tristis. To this aim, we measured experimentally the willingness of adult individuals to eat a new food (consumer innovation) and to develop a new foraging technique (motor innovation), as well as their degree of neophobia, exploration, shyness, motivation and activity levels. Common mynas showed some propensity for consumer and motor innovations, with 55% and 22% of individuals solving the respective tasks. Moreover, individuals that solved the task significantly decreased their latency to solve it subsequently, indicating that learning had occurred. Differences in problem-solving performance were not related to sex, and individuals that solved the consumer task did not solve the motor innovation task faster. The likelihood of solving the motor task increased with propensity of the individual to explore the test apparatus, suggesting that the task was solved by trial and error. Exploration increased with the motivation to feed and decreased with the degree of neophobia. Thus, while differences in innovation propensity between individuals may result from cognitive differences, our results highlight that they may also reflect particular motivational states or emotional responses of individuals to novel situations. © 2011.
Sol D., Maspons J., Vall-llosera M., Bartomeus I., García-Peña G.E., Piñol J., Freckleton R.P. (2012) Unraveling the life history of successful invaders. Science. 337: 580-583.EnlaceDoi: 10.1126/science.1221523
Despite considerable current interest in biological invasions, the common life-history characteristics of successful invaders remain elusive. The widely held hypothesis that successful invaders have high reproductive rates has received little empirical support; however, alternative possibilities are seldom considered. Combining a global comparative analysis of avian introductions (>2700 events) with demographic models and phylogenetic comparative methods, we show that although rapid population growth may be advantageous during invasions under certain circumstances, more generally successful invaders are characterized by life-history strategies in which they give priority to future rather than current reproduction. High future breeding expectations reduce the costs of reproductive failure under uncertain conditions and increase opportunities to explore the environment and respond to novel ecological pressures.
Overington SE, Griffin A, Sol D, Lefebvre L (2012) Are innovative species ecological generalists? A test in North American birds. Behavioral Ecology 22: 1286-1293.
Sol D, Bartomeus I, Griffin AS (2011) The paradox of invasion in birds: competitive superiority or ecological opportunism?. Oecologia doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2203-x.
Sol D, Griffin AS, Bartomeus I (2011) Consumer and motor innovation in the common myna: the role of motivation and emotional responses. Animal Behaviour 83: 179-188. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.10.024.
Bartomeus I, Sol D, Pino J, Vicente P, Font X (2011) Deconstructing the native–exotic richness relationship in plants. Global Ecology and Biogeography doi: 10.1111/j.1466-8238.2011.00708.x.
Martínez-Vilalta J, Sol D, Terradas J. (2011) Un planeta a la deriva. Converses sobre el canvi global. Barcelona: RBA – La Magrana.
Sol D., Griffin A.S., Bartomeus I., Boyce H. (2011) Exploring or avoiding novel food resources? the novelty conflict in an invasive bird. PLoS ONE. 6: 0-0.EnlaceDoi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0019535
For an animal invading a novel region, the ability to develop new behaviors should facilitate the use of novel food resources and hence increase its survival in the new environment. However, the need to explore new resources may entail costs such as exposing the animal to unfamiliar predators. These two opposing forces result in an exploration-avoidance conflict, which can be expected to interfere with the acquisition of new resources. However, its consequences should be less dramatic in highly urbanized environments where new food opportunities are common and predation risk is low. We tested this hypothesis experimentally by presenting three foraging tasks to introduced common mynas (Acridotheres tristis) from environments with low and high urbanization levels from Australia. Individuals from the highly urbanized environments, where mynas are both more opportunistic when foraging and less fearful to predators, resolved a technical task faster than those from less urbanized environments. These differences did not reflect innovative 'personalities' and were not confounded by sex, morphology or motivational state. Rather, the principal factors underlying differences in mynas' problem-solving ability were neophobic-neophilic responses, which varied across habitats. Thus, mynas seem to modulate their problem-solving ability according to the benefits and costs of innovating in their particular habitat, which may help us understand the great success of the species in highly urbanized environments. © 2011 Sol et al.
de Cáceres M., Sol D., Lapiedra O., Legendre P. (2011) A framework for estimating niche metrics using the resemblance between qualitative resources. Oikos. 120: 1341-1350.EnlaceDoi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.19679.x
Despite the central importance of the niche concept for the ecological theory, current methods to quantify the species niche from qualitative resources, such as food or habitat types, remain insufficiently developed. Classically, information theory and diversity measures have formed the toolbox used for calculating resource niche metrics on species preference data for a set of qualitative resources. We provide a comprehensive framework that extends these classical approaches by incorporating the resemblance between resources into the calculation of resource niche metrics. This does not only allow estimation of the niche centre, breadth, overlap and displacement with greater accuracy, but also makes the estimates less influenced by the way the resources are subdivided. In addition, all niche metrics can be calculated while taking into account the variation in resource availability, and confidence intervals can be obtained by bootstrapping. We illustrate the utility of the framework with an analysis of dietary preferences in feral pigeons Columba livia. © 2011 The Authors. Oikos © 2011 Nordic Society Oikos.
Sol D (2010) Dissecting biological invasions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25: 133
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