Navigation Links
Brain size determines whether fish hunters or slackers
Date:8/4/2010

Whether a fish likes to hunt down its food or wait for dinner to arrive is linked to the composition of its brain, a University of Guelph researcher has revealed.

Prof. Rob McLaughlin has discovered that foraging behaviour of brook trout is related to the size of a particular region in the fish's brain.

"We found that the fish that swim around in the open in search of food have larger telencephalons than the fish that sit along the shoreline and wait for food to swim by in the water column," said the integrative biology professor.

"This means there is a correlation between foraging behaviour and brain morphology."

The telencephalon is a brain region involved with fish movement and use of space.

"It's responsible for a fish's ability to swim around to different places and remember landmarks in the environment so they don't get lost."

In previous research, McLaughlin discovered that brook trout display two personality types: fish that are active foragers and appear to be risk takers, and those that are sedentary and apparently more timid.

"These are young fish that have been foraging for less than a month, and we are already seeing a difference in the propensity to take risks and move around. This made us wonder if these differences were significant biologically."

For the current research, which was recently published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, McLaughlin and researcher Alexander Wilson collected these two types of fish from the Credit River near Toronto and measured the size of their telencephalon region.

They also measured the brain's olfactory bulb to ensure that the active foragers did not simply have larger brains overall than the sedentary fish.

"We found there was no significant difference in the size of the olfactory bulb between the two types of fish," he said. "We picked this part of the brain because trout are visual feeders, so the olfactory bulb is not tied to foraging, and it's also an area that's near the telencephalon."

Although this research has shown that the fish's feeding activity is tied to brain structure, McLaughlin said it is still unclear whether behavioural differences reflect initial differences in the brain or whether the brain changes in response to differences in behaviour.

"It's possible there is something in the environment or in the fish's genetic makeup that is making some fish more active than others, and this level of activity is altering the brain," he said.

"There is evidence that fish are plastic and can change structure based on where neurons are developing more rapidly."

Either way, this finding will help in understanding the neural mechanism behind different foraging behaviours observed in wild animal populations.

"It's a huge step towards understanding why different types of personalities exist in the same species and how diversity arises in a population. We tend to focus on our impact on the environment and how our actions are reducing biodiversity and overlook processes in the environment that may be creating diversity."


'/>"/>

Contact: Prof. Robert McLaughlin
rlmclaug@uoguelph.ca
519-824-4120 x53620
University of Guelph
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Scripps research study shows infectious prions can arise spontaneously in normal brain tissue
2. Children with brain injuries have problems with story-telling
3. Irradiating stem cell niche doubles survival in brain cancer patients
4. Does the existing standard of care supply energy sources to brain tumor cells?
5. The brain of the fly -- a high-speed computer
6. Brain atrophy responsible for depression in people battling multiple sclerosis
7. A pacemaker for your brain
8. Virus explorers probe inner workings of the brain
9. Growing brain is particularly flexible
10. Tiny insect brains capable of huge feats
11. Helping the brains messengers get from A to B
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/6/2017)... -- Delta ID Inc., a leader in consumer-grade iris scanning ... CES® 2017. Delta ID has collaborated with Gentex Corporation ... of iris scanning as a secure, reliable and convenient ... car, and as a way to elevate the security ... ID and Gentex will demonstrate (booth #7326 LVCC) a ...
(Date:1/3/2017)... LAS VEGAS , Jan. 3, 2017 ... announced the introduction of Onitor Track, an innovative biometric ... and men, showcasing this month at the 2017 Consumer ... . In the U.S., the World ... affect more than two-thirds of adults who are overweight ...
(Date:12/20/2016)... , Dec. 20, 2016 The ... sharing, rental and leasing is stoking significant interest ... radio frequency technology, Bluetooth low energy (BLE), biometrics ... as the next wave of wireless technologies in ... access system to advanced access systems opens the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... Each year, Crain’s Detroit Business News ranks the ... evaluates the patent estate of a company, its impact and significance, and the likelihood ... the way in technologies that transform energy sources such as low dose X-ray and ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... After ... Lisa Rosendahl’s doctors gave her only a few months to live. Now a ... that has stabilized Rosendahl’s disease and increased both the quantity and quality of ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... and Pune, India , January 12, 2017 ... Toxicity Testing Market by Type and End Users - Global Opportunity Analysis and Industry ... million by 2022 from $2,921 million in 2015, growing at a CAGR of 15.07% ... ... Allied Market Research Logo ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... Colo. (PRWEB) , ... January 11, 2017 , ... ... the journal Clinical Cancer Research show early promise of the investigational anti-cancer agent ... despite a median 5 previous treatment regimens. Twenty-seven percent of these heavily pretreated ...
Breaking Biology Technology: