Science. The rare ‘divorce’ in the monogamous albatross is the fault of the male

Madrid, 14 (European press)

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have found that, at least for a certain group of wandering albatrosses, if a couple divorces it boils down to one important factor: personality.

In a study appearing in Biology Letters, the team reported that the likelihood of an albatross divorce being strongly influenced by the “daringness” of the male partner. The more bold and aggressive the male, the more likely the couple will stay together. The more shy you are, the higher the chance of a spouse divorce.

The researchers say their study is the first to link personality and divorce in a wild animal species.

Study lead author Stephanie Genouvrier, co-scientist and seabird expert, says: Environmental scientist at WHOI’s FLEDGE Laboratory. “Instead, we found that shy people are more likely to divorce, because a more competitive outsider is more likely to force the spouses to divorce. We expect personality to influence divorce rates across many species, but in different ways.”

This new evidence of a link between personality and divorce in a wandering albatross could help scientists predict populations, says lead author Ruijiao Sun, a graduate student in the MIT-WHOI joint program and MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, in a statement. Population. Flexibility.

“Wandering albatrosses is an endangered species,” Sun says. “Understanding the impact of personality on divorce is important because it can help researchers to anticipate consequences for population dynamics and implement conservation efforts.”

The new study focuses on a group of wandering albatrosses that regularly return to Position Island in the southern Indian Ocean to breed. This group was the focus of a long-term study dating back to the 1950s, in which researchers monitored birds each breeding season and recorded the mating and separation of individuals over the years.

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This particular group is more male than female because the foraging areas of female albatrosses overlap with fishing boats, where they are more likely to be accidentally caught in fishing nets as by-catch.

In previous research, Sun analyzed data from this long-term study and found a strange pattern: Those who divorced were more likely to do so over and over again.

“So we wanted to know what drives divorce and why some birds get divorced so often,” says Genouvrier. “In humans, you also see this pattern of frequent divorces associated with personality. The wandering albatross is one of the rare species for which we have demographic and personality data.”

Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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