Human protection drives the emergence of a new coping style in animals

Type Article
Date 2021-04
Language English
Author(s) Sadoul Bastien1, Blumstein Daniel T.2, Alfonso SebastienORCID3, Geffroy BenjaminORCID4
Affiliation(s) 1 : ESE, Ecology and Ecosystem Health, Institut Agro, INRAE, Rennes, France
2 : Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of California, Los Angeles, California, United States of America
3 : COISPA Tecnologia & Ricerca, Stazione Sperimentale per lo Studio delle Risorse del Mare, Bari, Italy
4 : MARBEC, Univ. Montpellier, Ifremer, IRD, CNRS, Palavas-Les-Flots, France
Source Plos Biology (1544-9173) (Public Library of Science (PLoS)), 2021-04 , Vol. 19 , N. 4 , P. e3001186. (11p.)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.3001186
WOS© Times Cited 11

Wild animals face novel environmental threats from human activities that may occur along a gradient of interactions with humans. Recent work has shown that merely living close to humans has major implications for a variety of antipredator traits and physiological responses. Here, we hypothesize that when human presence protects prey from their genuine predators (as sometimes seen in urban areas and at some tourist sites), this predator shield, followed by a process of habituation to humans, decouples commonly associated traits related to coping styles, which results in a new range of phenotypes. Such individuals are characterized by low aggressiveness and physiological stress responses, but have enhanced behavioral plasticity, boldness, and cognitive abilities. We refer to these individuals as “preactive,” because their physiological and behavioral coping style falls outside the classical proactive/reactive coping styles. While there is some support for this new coping style, formal multivariate studies are required to investigate behavioral and physiological responses to anthropogenic activities.

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