Environmental influence in animal contests
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Contests between individual animals over the possession of particular limited resources have played an important role in shaping the evolution of life history, morphology and ecology of the vast majority of animal taxa. Whilst the phenomenon has been and continues to be extensively scrutinized via theory and experimentation, theses and predictions based on mathematics and optimality are frequently confounded by experimental observation. If successful demonstrations of evolutionarily stable strategies are to occur it is vital that the complex interplay of variables potentially affecting an animal‟s fighting ability are understood and controlled for experimentally. This review addresses the significance of external environmental influence on the decisions that animals make during conflict. With reference to the various game theory models and studies directly investigating the role of physiology in aggressive behaviour, this review calls for a collaboration between physiologists and behavioural ecologists in a hope of further understanding one of the fundamental selective processes in the evolution of motile animal taxa.
Fox-Powell, M. (2012) 'Environmental influence in animal contests' The Plymouth Student Scientist, 5(1), p. 283-293.