The role of long-term, individual-based field studies in behavioural ecologyстатья

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Дата последнего поиска статьи во внешних источниках: 9 марта 2017 г.

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[1] Goltsman M. E. The role of long-term, individual-based field studies in behavioural ecology // Принципы экологии (Principy èkologii). — 2016. — Vol. 5, no. 3. — P. 44–44. The long-term, individual-based field studies (LTIBS) are the studies of natural animal populations that last more than 10 years and based on individual recognition of the significant part of a population. They appeared in 1950s and now are considered not only as the most productive, but also as the most effective for scientific progress (Clutton-Brock, 2012). The individual recognition brought new opportunities to understand individual histories of animals and to measure, with a high accuracy, such population characteristics as survival and mortality rates, ageing, dynamic of reproductive activity, generative intervals, etc. The individual recognition also enabled to investigate intrapopulation variation of different parameters (for example, age-dependent variation of fertility and mortality, individual heterogeneity in life histories, behavior and reproductive strategies) (Clutton-Brock, 2001; Clutton-Brock, Sheldon, 2010). LTIBS allows to estimate costs and benefits of different behavioral tactics and social flexibility and to compare the reproductive success and survival rate of individuals with different phenotype and genotype. Finally, LTIBS is essential for analyzing social environment of individuals including the variations in the system of reproductive bonds and social structure (Silk, 2007). In the last decade, LTIBS started to play an important role in the identification of the effects of global changes of ecological conditions and their consequences in eco-evolutionary studies, i.e. in the investigations of rapid evolutionary processes going on the same time-scale as the actual ecological changes. Finally, most popular books and films on animal wildlife are based on LTIBS with animal personification. However, there are relatively few existing LTIBS projects. According to T. Clutton-Brock (2012), who systematized the LTIBS data, there are now approximately 150 LTIBS projects for birds and mammals, and around 20–30% of them focus on primates. He considers it will take around 10 years to investigate species ecology, 10 to 30 years to investigate species demography and more than 30 years to understand animals’ reactions to long-term environmental changes. Many of the most important ecological and eco-evolutionary processes occur during a period of several tens of years and it is impossible to register them after weeks or months of observations. Long-term field projects with the individually recognizable animals are very costly, it is difficult to organize them and even more difficult to maintain, but it is the most perspective direction in modern population ecology.

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