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Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment


The Ecological Society of America

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© The Ecological Society of America

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Abstract/ Summary

Conservationists rarely consider the roles individuals, with their own unique behavior, physiology, and genome, play in shaping ecosystem processes and consequently ecosystem services, but this is changing. An ongoing surge in research on animal personalities (that is, behavioral differences among individuals that are consistent over time and across contexts) is exposing the ecological roles of individuals to scientific scrutiny. Here, we present four broad examples of ecosystem services that are likely to be shaped by personalities: (1) pollination and seed dispersal, (2) regulation of pest species, (3) ecotourism, and (4) maintenance of soil quality. Although researchers have suggested diverse links between animal personality and ecosystem function, very few have examined this association. We outline a four-step process for quantifying and validating these linkages, leading to application for conservation practitioners, and conclude by recommending that accounting for behavioral variation should be incorporated into the management of ecosystem services.

Citation/Publisher Attribution

Malcolm L. Hunter, Jr., Sara R. Boone, Allison M. Brehm, and Alessio Mortelliti. (2021). "Modulation of ecosystem services by animal personalities." In Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. doi:10.1002/fee.2418




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