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Is habitat selection in the wild shaped by individual-level cognitive biases in orientation strategy?

Beardsworth, CE, Whiteside, MA, Laker, PR, Nathan, R, Orchan, Y, Toledo, S, van Horik, JO and Madden, JR (2021) Is habitat selection in the wild shaped by individual-level cognitive biases in orientation strategy? Ecology Letters, 24 (4). pp. 751-760. ISSN 1461-023X

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.13694 (Published version)


Cognitive biases for encoding spatial information (orientation strategies) in relation to self (egocentric) or landmarks (allocentric) differ between species or populations according to the habitats they occupy. Whether biases in orientation strategy determine early habitat selection or if individuals adapt their biases following experience is unknown. We determined orientation strategies of pheasants, Phasianus colchicus, using a dual-strategy maze with an allocentric probe trial, before releasing them (n = 20) into a novel landscape, where we monitored their movement and habitat selection. In general, pheasants selected for woodland over non-woodland habitat, but allocentric-biased individuals exhibited weaker avoidance of non-woodland habitat, where we expected allocentric navigation to be more effective. Sex did not influence selection but was associated with speed and directional persistence in non-woodland habitat. Our results suggest that an individual's habitat selection is associated with inherent cognitive bias in early life, but it is not yet clear what advantages this may offer.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Humans; Cognition; Maze Learning; Ecosystem; Spatial Navigation; Bias; Allocentric; cognition; egocentric; habitat; movement ecology; navigation; orientation strategies; spatial memory; Bias; Cognition; Ecosystem; Humans; Maze Learning; Spatial Navigation; 0501 Ecological Applications; 0602 Ecology; 0603 Evolutionary Biology; Ecology
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2023 12:18
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2023 12:30
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/ele.13694
Editors: Lawler, Joshua
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19005
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