Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Sheep that shed light on personality differences

17.09.2009
The team led by Denis Reale, a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at UQAM and Canada Research Chair in Behavioural Ecology, recently completed a study showing the link between personality, survival and reproductive success in male bighorn sheep.

Their results were published in an article entitled "Male personality, life-history strategies and reproductive success in a promiscuous mammal” in the prestigious Journal of Evolutionary Biology 22(8): 1599-1607. In addition to being a significant advance in our knowledge of these mammals, the research offers insight into personality differences in animals and humans, from an evolutionary perspective.

Research
Since 1969, several teams of researchers have been studying this population of bighorn sheep in Alberta, Canada. They have collected considerable data over the years. Denis Reale and his collaborators, Julien Martin and Marco Festa-Bianchet, University of Sherbrooke, and Dave Coltman and Jocelyn Poissant, University of Alberta, focused on the animals' personality. Initially, the team identified the rams in terms of boldness and docility. They then conducted paternity tests to determine which rams were reproducing.

In a system like that of bighorn sheep where there is strong competition among the males for impregnating females, large size and high dominance status are normally key factors in a male's success. Males usually attain these conditions in the prime of life (between 6 and 12 years). However, the paternity tests showed that some young males manage to fertilize females.

Given the risk associated with participation in the rut (males can be injured or fall from a cliff in fighting), Denis Reale and his colleagues hypothesized that the young males that manage to reproduce would be the boldest and most combative. Analysis of the data confirmed this hypothesis. However, in exchange for sexual precocity and risk-taking, these rams often die younger than their more docile peers! The latter, instead, invest in the long term, breed later and reach an older age.

The research thus indicates a variation in the personalities and life histories of the population, with two extreme types: one that could be characterised as "live fast and die" and the other as "slow and steady wins the race." Depending on their personality, the males managed to breed and to transmit their genes, but in different ways. This study demonstrates that personality has a direct influence on the lifestyle of individuals.

UQAM and the Biological Sciences Department
UQAM is a public French-language university with an international reputation. UQAM offers nearly 300 undergraduate and graduate programs. It is recognized for the quality of its programs, its socially conscious research and its innovation in the arts. The UQAM Biological Sciences Department is one of Canada's most dynamic, enjoying one of the highest rates of research grants. Most of its researchers work in teams engaged in cutting-edge research on ecology, environmental health and toxicology, and biotechnology.
Source : Claire Bouchard, Press Relations Officer
Phone: (514) 987-3000, ext. 2248
Email: bouchard.claire@uqam.ca

Claire Bouchard | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uqam.ca

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Supersensitive through quantum entanglement

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy under real ambient pressure conditions

28.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Mice provide insight into genetics of autism spectrum disorders

28.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>