Behaviour 2019
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Adaptive Potential of Social Learning in Golden-crowned Sparrows (Zonotrichia atricapilla)
Anastasia E Madsen1, Mary De Aquino2, Bruce Lyon2, Alexis Chaine3, Daizaburo Shizuka1. 1University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, United States; 2University of California-Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, United States; 3Station d´Ecologie Théorique et Expérimentale du CNRS (UMR5321), Moulis, , France

Many animals use social information to forage efficiently, a strategy that is especially important on modified landscapes with variable resource distribution. Socially-transmitted information and behaviors can be considered adaptive if populations are able to use these behaviors to find and exploit novel food sources. However, not all learning is equal. Individuals may have biased access to social information or have biased abilities to acquire a socially-transmitted behavior. In such cases, biased transmission may impede the spread of adaptive behaviors in a population. On a long-term study site in Santa Cruz, California, USA, we asked whether a population of golden-crowned sparrows (Zonotrichia atricapilla) could socially learn a novel foraging task and whether task diffusion was altered by complex dominance interactions between flockmates. We used motion-capture cameras to record all interactions of sparrows with puzzle boxes, then tracked transmission and investigated dominance interactions between sparrows. Preliminary data suggests evidence for social learning, and field observations suggest that dominance interactions may have biased which birds acquired the task.