Social transmission in the wild can reduce predation pressure on novel prey signals
Hämäläinen, L., Hoppitt, W., Rowland, H. M., Mappes, J., Fulford, A. J., Sosa, S., & Thorogood, R. (2021). Social transmission in the wild can reduce predation pressure on novel prey signals. Nature Communications, 12, Article 3978. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24154-0
Published inNature Communications
© The Author(s) 2021
Social transmission of information is taxonomically widespread and could have profound effects on the ecological and evolutionary dynamics of animal communities. Demonstrating this in the wild, however, has been challenging. Here we show by field experiment that social transmission among predators can shape how selection acts on prey defences. Using artificial prey and a novel approach in statistical analyses of social networks, we find that blue tit (Cyanistes caeruleus) and great tit (Parus major) predators learn about prey defences by watching others. This shifts population preferences rapidly to match changes in prey profitability, and reduces predation pressure from naïve predators. Our results may help resolve how costly prey defences are maintained despite influxes of naïve juvenile predators, and suggest that accounting for social transmission is essential if we are to understand coevolutionary processes.
PublisherNature Publishing Group
Publication in research information system
MetadataShow full item record
Related funder(s)Academy of Finland
Funding program(s)Centre of Excellence, AoF
Additional information about fundingL.H. was funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Emil Aaltonen Foundation and is currently supported by Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation. H.M.R. was supported by a research grant from the Royal Society (RG110122), an early career project grant from the British Ecological Society (ECPG 3569/4373), a research fellowship from the Institute of Zoology London, and is currently supported by the Max Planck Society. J.M. was supported by the Academy of Finland (#284666) and the University of Jyväskylä. R.T. was supported by an Independent Research Fellowship from the Natural Environment Research Council UK (NE/K00929X/1) and a start-up grant from the Helsinki Institute of Life Science (HiLIFE), University of Helsinki. ...
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