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Appendices from Developmental feedbacks and the emergence of individuality

journal contribution
posted on 24.11.2022, 06:35 authored by Sean M. Ehlman, Ulrike Scherer, Max Wolf
Behavioural individuality is a hallmark of animal life, with major consequences for fitness, ecology, and evolution. One of the most widely invoked explanations for the source of this variation is that feedback loops between an animal's behaviour and its state (e.g. physiology, informational state, social rank, etc.) trigger and shape the development of individuality. Despite their often-cited importance, however, little is known about the ultimate causes of such feedbacks. Expanding on a previously employed model of adaptive behavioural development under uncertainty, we find that (i) behaviour-state feedbacks emerge as a direct consequence of adaptive behavioural development in particular selective environments and (ii) that the sign of these feedbacks, and thus the consequences for the development of behavioural individuality, can be directly predicted by the shape of the fitness function, with increasing fitness benefits giving rise to positive feedbacks and trait divergence and decreasing fitness benefits leading to negative feedbacks and trait convergence. Our findings provide a testable explanatory framework for the emergence of developmental feedbacks driving individuality and suggest that such feedbacks and their associated patterns of behavioural diversity are a direct consequence of adaptive behavioural development in particular selective environments.

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