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The Evolution of Diversity in Avian Territorial Systems

Jerram L. Brown
The Wilson Bulletin
Vol. 76, No. 2 (Jun., 1964), pp. 160-169
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4159278
Page Count: 10
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The Evolution of Diversity in Avian Territorial Systems
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Abstract

Recognition of the diversity of systems of territoriality among species has clearly indicated that an understanding of the evolution of territoriality requires a theory which accounts for the diversity according to more general ecological principles than those which have been proposed in the past. A general theory of territoriality is proposed which depends upon the influence of two primary variables, competition and economic defendability, and on the adaptive value of aggressiveness under various conditions of these variables. Examples of application of the theory in different types of social systems (colonies, leks, and large territories) are given. It is suggested that in species with large territories used for both feeding and nesting, territoriality might, under certain conditions, be maintained or selected for in a population merely through the exclusion of less aggressive individuals from the opportunity to breed in a suitable habitat. Such exclusion would, however, be limited by counter-selection pressures when aggressiveness became too detrimental to reproduction.

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