ABS 2022
Social context and individual variation in dispersal behaviour
Aaron Jessop1, Michael Morrissey1, Miguel Barbosa1,2. 1University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, Scotland; 2University of Aveiro, Aveiro, , Portugal

Within a population only a subset of individuals will disperse. It is debatable if dispersal is driven primarily by innate characteristics or environment and social context. Recent research has linked dispersal to a suite of individual characteristics such as boldness, suggesting that dispersers represent a non-random subset of a population. Here we test the hypothesis that dispersal varies across individuals of the invasive Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticula. We frame our hypothesis in the context of social environment and explore the effect of sex ratio on the tendency for individuals to disperse via jumping behaviour. We found no significant difference in male and female jumping behaviour and no effect of sex ratio. However, we found consistent individual variation in jumping probability. Our results suggest that the propensity for individuals to disperse is independent of social context and has played a key role in the invasive success of guppies. Further, our results indicate that species invasions are mediated by a non-random subset of individuals. The results of this study stress the need to incorporate individual variation in behaviour in future invasion biology research.