Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

A system for automatic recording of social behavior in a free-living wild house mouse population


König, Barbara; Lindholm, Anna K; Lopes, Patricia C; Dobay, Akos; Steinert, Sally; Buschmann, Frank Jens-Uwe (2015). A system for automatic recording of social behavior in a free-living wild house mouse population. Animal Biotelemetry, 3(1):39.

Abstract

Our research focuses on mechanisms that promote and stabilize social behavior, fitness consequences of cooperation, and how interactions with conspecifics structure groups and populations. To this end, we studied wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) in the laboratory, in semi-natural enclosures and in the field. In 2002, we initiated a project on a free-living population of house mice in a barn near Zurich, Switzerland, where mice were equipped with RFID transponders and were provided with 40 nest boxes for resting and breeding. The population typically comprised between 250 and 400 mice.
Methods: To analyze social group membership, social interactions and social preferences of the mice in our study population over their lifespan, we installed a continuous transponder reading system (AniLoc, FBI Science GmbH, Germany). Mice accessed nest boxes through tunnels equipped with two antennas each. When a mouse implanted with an RFID transponder passed the electromagnetic field of an antenna, its identity was transmitted and registered in real time with AniLoc. Additionally, body weights of mice were automatically registered at eight drinking facilities (Intelliscale, FBI Science GmbH, Germany). Here, a mouse sits on a freely movable platform that connects to a scale registering body weight when drinking, and an antenna around the head of the water bottle registers the drinking individual’s RFID transponder.
Results: The system enabled continuous remote monitoring of the behavior of a free-living, open population of house mice, when using nest boxes and when drinking. Since such safe places are an important resource for survival and reproduction, time of day, duration and frequency of meetings with conspecifics reveal information about the function of their interactions. Trigger efficiency of antennas was 98.2 %. Mice entered and left the nest boxes with an average speed of 0.03 m/s, which is within the antennas’ detection capacity (detection speed of 1 m/s or 3.6 km/h). The antenna devices documented not only social structuring of our study population but also spatial genetic structuring. The observation that mice lived in rather closed social groups and tended to share nest boxes with relatives highlights the importance of kin selection for the evolution and maintenance of social behavior.
Conclusions: We suggest that such automatic recording of activity, spatial distribution and social interactions is helpful not only in field studies, for a variety of species, but also in captivity or laboratory studies, to answer basic questions in behavioral ecology, population ecology, population genetics, conservation biology, disease ecology, or animal welfare.

Abstract

Our research focuses on mechanisms that promote and stabilize social behavior, fitness consequences of cooperation, and how interactions with conspecifics structure groups and populations. To this end, we studied wild house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) in the laboratory, in semi-natural enclosures and in the field. In 2002, we initiated a project on a free-living population of house mice in a barn near Zurich, Switzerland, where mice were equipped with RFID transponders and were provided with 40 nest boxes for resting and breeding. The population typically comprised between 250 and 400 mice.
Methods: To analyze social group membership, social interactions and social preferences of the mice in our study population over their lifespan, we installed a continuous transponder reading system (AniLoc, FBI Science GmbH, Germany). Mice accessed nest boxes through tunnels equipped with two antennas each. When a mouse implanted with an RFID transponder passed the electromagnetic field of an antenna, its identity was transmitted and registered in real time with AniLoc. Additionally, body weights of mice were automatically registered at eight drinking facilities (Intelliscale, FBI Science GmbH, Germany). Here, a mouse sits on a freely movable platform that connects to a scale registering body weight when drinking, and an antenna around the head of the water bottle registers the drinking individual’s RFID transponder.
Results: The system enabled continuous remote monitoring of the behavior of a free-living, open population of house mice, when using nest boxes and when drinking. Since such safe places are an important resource for survival and reproduction, time of day, duration and frequency of meetings with conspecifics reveal information about the function of their interactions. Trigger efficiency of antennas was 98.2 %. Mice entered and left the nest boxes with an average speed of 0.03 m/s, which is within the antennas’ detection capacity (detection speed of 1 m/s or 3.6 km/h). The antenna devices documented not only social structuring of our study population but also spatial genetic structuring. The observation that mice lived in rather closed social groups and tended to share nest boxes with relatives highlights the importance of kin selection for the evolution and maintenance of social behavior.
Conclusions: We suggest that such automatic recording of activity, spatial distribution and social interactions is helpful not only in field studies, for a variety of species, but also in captivity or laboratory studies, to answer basic questions in behavioral ecology, population ecology, population genetics, conservation biology, disease ecology, or animal welfare.

Statistics

Citations

Altmetrics

Downloads

7 downloads since deposited on 14 Oct 2015
5 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:5 October 2015
Deposited On:14 Oct 2015 13:31
Last Modified:10 Jun 2016 05:54
Publisher:BioMed Central
ISSN:2050-3385
Funders:Swiss National Science Foundation, Claraz foundation, Promotor Stiftung, Stiftung für wissenschaftliche Forschung UZH, Baugarten Sitftung, Wolfermann-Nägeli-Stiftung
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1186/s40317-015-0069-0
Official URL:http://www.animalbiotelemetry.com/content/3/1/39

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Published Version
Filetype: PDF
Size: 2MB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations