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Data from: Environmental heterogeneity and population differences in blue tits personality traits

Cite this dataset

Dubuc-Messier, Gabrielle; Reale, Denis; Perret, Philippe; Charmantier, Anne (2016). Data from: Environmental heterogeneity and population differences in blue tits personality traits [Dataset]. Dryad.


Environmental heterogeneity can result in spatial variation in selection pressures that can produce local adaptations. The pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis predicts that habitat-specific selective pressures will favor the coevolution of personality, physiological, and life-history phenotypes. Few studies so far have compared these traits simultaneously across different ecological conditions. In this study, we compared 3 personality traits (handling aggression, exploration speed in a novel environment, and nest defense behavior) and 1 physiological trait (heart rate during manual restraint) across 3 Corsican blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) populations. These populations are located in contrasting habitats (evergreen vs. deciduous) and are situated in 2 different valleys 25 km apart. Birds from these populations are known to differ in life-history characteristics, with birds from the evergreen habitat displaying a slow pace-of-life, and birds from the deciduous habitat a comparatively faster pace-of-life. We expected personality to differ across populations, in line with the differences in pace-of-life documented for life-history traits. As expected, we found behavioral differences among populations. Despite considerable temporal variation, birds exhibited lower handling aggression in the evergreen populations. Exploration speed and male heart rate also differed across populations, although our results for exploration speed were more consistent with a phenotypic difference between the 2 valleys than between habitats. There were no clear differences in nest defense intensity among populations. Our study emphasizes the role of environmental heterogeneity in shaping population divergence in personality traits at a small spatial scale.

Usage notes


Corsica (France)