Sunday, November 21, 2010

Meet Team Marmot: Matthew Petelle

I am studying animal personality, or differences in individual behavior. Animal personality may be thought of as the strategy an individual uses when interacting with other marmots, how it chooses what habitat to forage in, and how it should react to a predator. Specifically, I study how personality variation is caused and maintained within a population of yellow-bellied marmots. There are a number of hypotheses that may explain why variation exists within a population and how it is maintained.

First, I have to figure out what the personality of each marmot is. To do this, I put marmots in specific situations and see how they react or behave. This allows me to place individuals on a personality trait continuum.

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