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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

The role of familial conflict in home range settlement and fitness of a solitary mammal

Hansen, J. E.; Hertel, A. G.; Frank, S. C.; Kindberg, Jonas; Zedrosser, Andreas


Familial conflict, including parent-offspring conflict (POC) and sibling competition (SC), occurs when an individual maximizes its access to a limiting resource at the expense of a related individual. The role of familial conflict for competition over space as a limited resource remains relatively unexplored. In this study, we examined how familial conflict affects natal dispersal and settlement decisions of a solitary mammal, the brown bear, Ursus arctos, and tested whether these settlement patterns covary with fitness. First, we tested whether the distance settled from the natal range was affected by aspects of POC (litter type: single versus multiple; mother's age; mother's living status) and SC (settled near versus far from the natal home range, body size). We then modelled how distance settled from the natal range influ-enced three measures of fitness: survival to reproduction, lifetime reproductive success and lifetime survival. In line with POC, we found that daughters settled twice as far from the natal range when their mother was alive than when she was dead. We found strong evidence for SC where in sibling pairs, the 'near' sister settled nearly three times closer to the natal range than her sibling. We found contradictory patterns in fitness outcomes based on settlement distance, such that females settling closer to the natal range had higher lifetime survival but were less likely to successfully wean at least one offspring. Despite survival advantages gained by settling closer to the natal range, there was no evidence that settlement distance influenced lifetime reproductive success. Fitness outcomes in this population may be influenced more by factors related to annual hunting than by familial conflict or proximity to the natal range. & COPY; 2023 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. This is an open access article under the CC BY license ( by/4.0/).


dispersal; fitness; parent-offspring conflict; reproductive success; sibling competition

Published in

Animal Behaviour
2023, Volume: 202, pages: 39-50

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Behavioral Sciences Biology

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