It is fascinating to witness how much individuals of a species differ from each other. These differences are however rarely accounted for in demographic models using capture-recapture data. We have been developing statistical tools to incorporate individual variability in demographic analyses; in collaboration with Rémi Choquet, we developed a method to accommodate random effects in capture-recapture models (here, here and here). This approach was used to study senescence in presence of heterogeneity (here).
We also studied finite-mixture capture-recapture models in which variability is captured by discrete classes of individuals (here). These models were used to estimate the abundance of French and Italian wolves (here, here and here) and study senescence in presence of heterogeneity (here). Regarding senescence, check out our recent work with Marlène Gamelon as part of her PhD (here) who described senescence patterns in the wild boar and Dave Koons (here) who reviewed the methods to study cause-specific senescence in the wild while he was on sabbatical in the team.
Individual variability became a subject of interest in itself as soon as we added some quantitative genetics in the equation (see here, here and here). We also worked on a comparison between dynamic and fixed heterogeneity using the Kittiwake as a case study (here); Emmanuelle Cam led this study while she was on sabbatical in the team. On another front, Paméla Lagrange studied the relative contribution of personal vs. public information in driving dispersal in a passerine (co-supervised with Marc Bélisle).
Our research on individual variability received funding from the French research agency (see here). A review is in preparation with Emmanuelle and Jean-Michel Gaillard, following my plenary talk at EURING 2013. This paper will be part of a special issue for Oikos led by Sandra Hamel, Nigel Yoccoz and Jean-Michel.