When discussing population dynamics, behavioral ecology, and cell biology, recruitment refers 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.[1] When discussing behavioral ecology and animal communication, recruitment is communication that is intended to add members of a group to specific tasks.[2] Finally, when discussing cell biology, recruitment is the process by which cells are selected for certain tasks.[3]

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.[1] 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.[4][5][6] 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.[1][6][7][8][9] Recruitment rates in turn affect population size and demographics.[1][8] High recruitment may increase a species' current and future abundance within a system, whereas low recruitment can lead to reduced current and future abundance.[10]

Common study systems

Aquatic 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.[11][12] 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.[13]

Forest systems

Experimental studies on the effects of recruitment are numerous in forest and annual plant systems.[1][4][5]

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.[2] 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.[2] 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).[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gaillard, J. M.; Coulson, T.; Festa-Bianchet, M. (2008-01-01), "Recruitment", in Jørgensen, Sven Erik; Fath, Brian D. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ecology, Academic Press, pp. 2982–2986, doi:10.1016/b978-008045405-4.00655-8, ISBN 978-0-08-045405-4, retrieved 2019-11-25
  2. ^ a b c d Kost, C. (2008-01-01), "Chemical Communication", in Jørgensen, Sven Erik; Fath, Brian D. (eds.), Encyclopedia of Ecology, Academic Press, pp. 557–575, doi:10.1016/b978-008045405-4.00036-7, ISBN 978-0-08-045405-4, retrieved 2019-11-25
  3. ^ Rennert, Robert C; Sorkin, Michael; Garg, Ravi K; Gurtner, Geoffrey C (November 2012). "Stem cell recruitment after injury: lessons for regenerative medicine". Regenerative Medicine. 7 (6): 833–850. doi:10.2217/rme.12.82. ISSN 1746-0751. PMC 3568672. PMID 23164083.
  4. ^ a b 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.
  5. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ a b Bailey, K. M.; Duffy-Anderson, J. T. (2001-01-01), "Fish Predation and Mortality*", in Steele, John H. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences (Second Edition), Academic Press, pp. 417–424, doi:10.1016/b978-012374473-9.00024-2, ISBN 978-0-12-374473-9, retrieved 2019-11-27
  7. ^ Ibáñez, Beatriz; Gómez-Aparicio, Lorena; Stoll, Peter; Ávila, José M.; Pérez-Ramos, Ignacio M.; Marañón, Teodoro (2015-02-23). Carmel, Yohay (ed.). "A Neighborhood Analysis of the Consequences of Quercus suber Decline for Regeneration Dynamics in Mediterranean Forests". PLOS ONE. 10 (2): e0117827. Bibcode:2015PLoSO..1017827I. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0117827. ISSN 1932-6203. PMC 4338116. PMID 25706723.
  8. ^ a b 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.
  9. ^ Scottish Government, St Andrew's House (2009-12-08). "Fish recruitment". www2.gov.scot. Retrieved 2019-11-27.
  10. ^ Encalada, Andrea C.; Peckarsky, Barbara L. (April 2012). "Large-scale manipulation of mayfly recruitment affects population size". Oecologia. 168 (4): 967–976. Bibcode:2012Oecol.168..967E. doi:10.1007/s00442-011-2147-1. ISSN 0029-8549. PMID 22015569. S2CID 14603743.
  11. ^ Shertzer, K. W.; Williams, E. H.; Prager, M. H.; Vaughan, D. S. (2014-01-01), "Fishery Models☆", Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, Elsevier, doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-409548-9.09406-9, ISBN 978-0-12-409548-9, retrieved 2019-11-27
  12. ^ Willis, Jay (December 2011). "Modelling swimming aquatic animals in hydrodynamic models". Ecological Modelling. 222 (23–24): 3869–3887. doi:10.1016/j.ecolmodel.2011.10.004.
  13. ^ Miller, Thomas J. (2007). "Contribution of individual-based coupled physical–biological models to understanding recruitment in marine fish populations". Marine Ecology Progress Series. 347: 127–138. Bibcode:2007MEPS..347..127M. doi:10.3354/meps06973. ISSN 0171-8630. JSTOR 24871559.