When discussing population dynamics, behavioral ecology, and cell biology, recruitment can refer to several different biological processes. In population dynamics, recruitment is the process by which new individuals are added to a population, whether by birth and maturation or by immigration. When discussing behavioral ecology and animal communication, recruitment refers to communication that is intended to add members of a group to specific tasks. Finally, when discussing cell biology, recruitment refers to the process by which cells are selected for certain tasks.
Recruitment in population dynamics
Definition and importance
In population dynamics and community ecology, recruitment is the process by which individuals are added to a population. Successful recruitment is contingent on an individual surviving and integrating within the population; in some studies, individuals are only considered to have been recruited into a population once they've reached a certain size or life stage. Recruitment can be hard to assess due to the multitude of factors that affect it, such as predation, birth, and dispersal rates and environmental factors like temperature, precipitation, and natural disturbances. Recruitment rates in turn affect population size and demographics. High recruitment may increase a species' current and future abundance within a system, whereas low recruitment can lead to reduced current and future abundance.
Common study systems
Recruitment can be an important factor in predicting future population growth potential. For this reason, and due to their economic importance, recruitment has commonly been studied in fishery systems. While experimental work has been done in aquatic systems, dozens of papers have been published in the last few decades to model recruitment in both marine and freshwater aquatic environments.
Recruitment in behavioral ecology
In behavioral ecology and studies of animal communication, recruitment is the process by which individuals in a social group direct other individuals to do certain tasks. This is often achieved through the use of recruitment pheromones that direct anywhere from one to several hundred individuals to important resources, like food or nesting sites. Recruitment is practiced in a wide variety of eusocial taxa, most notably in hymenoptera (the ants, bees, and wasps) and termites but also in social caterpillars, beetles, and even a species of naked mole rats (Heterocephalus glaber).
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- Matías, Luis; Zamora, Regino; Castro, Jorge (July 2012). "Sporadic rainy events are more critical than increasing of drought intensity for woody species recruitment in a Mediterranean community". Oecologia. 169 (3): 833–844. Bibcode:2012Oecol.169..833M. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2234-3. ISSN 0029-8549. PMID 22218941. S2CID 12463388.
- Klopcic, Matija; Poljanec, Ales; Boncina, Andrej (2012-11-15). "Modelling natural recruitment of European beech (Fagus sylvatica L.)". Forest Ecology and Management. 284: 142–151. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2012.07.049. ISSN 0378-1127.
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- Knights, Antony M.; Firth, Louise B.; Walters, Keith (2012-04-06). "Interactions between Multiple Recruitment Drivers: Post-Settlement Predation Mortality and Flow-Mediated Recruitment". PLOS ONE. 7 (4): e35096. Bibcode:2012PLoSO...735096K. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0035096. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 3320868. PMID 22493734.
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