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:5/16/2017)...  Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an innovative ... verification solutions, announced today they will participate as a ... thru May 17, 2017, in Washington D.C.,s ... Identity impacts the lives of billions ... evolving digital world, defining identity is critical to nearly ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global expert ... a media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s hybrid ... software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during the ... the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ... prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions ... scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Jupiter, FL (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... episode, scheduled to broadcast first quarter 2018. American Farmer airs Tuesdays at 8:30aET on ... Agriculture industry is faced with the challenge of how to continue to feed a ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The Giving ... marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into ... in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding ... offers a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services ...
Breaking Biology Technology: