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Journal Articles Ecology Letters Year : 2017

Collective decision-making promotes fitness loss in a fusion-fission society

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Abstract

While collective decision-making is recognised as a significant contributor to fitness in social species, the opposite outcome is also logically possible. We show that collective movement decisions guided by individual bison sharing faulty information about habitat quality promoted the use of ecological traps. The frequent, but short-lived, associations of bison with different spatial knowledge led to a population-wide shift from avoidance to selection of agricultural patches over 9 years in and around Prince Albert National Park, Canada. Bison were more likely to travel to an agricultural patch for the first time by following conspecifics already familiar with agricultural patches. Annual adult mortality increased by 12% due to hunting of bison on agricultural lands. Maladaptive social behaviour accordingly was a major force that contributed to a ~50% population decline in less than a decade. In human-altered landscapes, social learning by group-living species can lead to fitness losses, particularly in fusion-fission societies.
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Dates and versions

mnhn-03890993 , version 1 (08-12-2022)

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Marie Sigaud, Jerod Merkle, Seth Cherry, John Fryxell, Andrew Berdahl, et al.. Collective decision-making promotes fitness loss in a fusion-fission society. Ecology Letters, 2017, 20 (1), pp.33-40. ⟨10.1111/ele.12698⟩. ⟨mnhn-03890993⟩

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