Small within-day increases in temperature affects boldness and alters personality in coral reef fish.

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Journal Article
Proc Biol Sci, 2010, 277 (1678), pp. 71 - 77
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Consistent individual differences in behaviour, termed personality, are common in animal populations and can constrain their responses to ecological and environmental variation, such as temperature. Here, we show for the first time that normal within-daytime fluctuations in temperature of less than 3 degrees C have large effects on personality for two species of juvenile coral reef fish in both observational and manipulative experiments. On average, individual scores on three personality traits (PTs), activity, boldness and aggressiveness, increased from 2.5- to sixfold as a function of temperature. However, whereas most individuals became more active, aggressive and bold across temperature contexts (were plastic), others did not; this changed the individual rank order across temperatures and thus altered personality. In addition, correlations between PTs were consistent across temperature contexts, e.g. fish that were active at a given temperature also tended to be both bold and aggressive. These results (i) highlight the importance of very carefully controlling for temperature when studying behavioural variation among and within individuals and (ii) suggest that individual differences in energy metabolism may contribute to animal personality, given that temperature has large direct effects on metabolic rates in ectotherms.
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