lundi 22 août 2016
Masters internship advert
Title: Can female fish program their offspring to avoid predators?
Predation is an important ecological factor that is known to have effects on a broad range of traits, particularly behaviour. Individuals often reduce activity and hide more often to avoid predators. While predation is a powerful selective force, and genes can determine antipredator behaviour, less is known about the role of maternal ‘programming’ to fine tune the behaviour of her young to short-term fluctuations in predation risk. In this experiment will manipulate the maternal environment of female guppies in the laboratory and test whether mothers can adaptively program their offspring to better avoid predators. Following on from a developmental experiment looking at the effect of risk early in ontogeny, we will re-dose mothers using olfactory alarm cues to simulate predation risk. Focussing on activity rates, among other behavioural traits, we will evaluate the relative importance of early development of the mother vs. more recent information in defining the phenotypes of offspring, and if the maternal manipulation restricts their later life behavioural flexibility.
While this project focusses on behaviour, the student may change the focus to other traits to better suit their interests. Options include life history traits (e.g. growth rates and fecundity), morphology or sexual traits (e.g. colouration and sexual behaviours), among others.
David Mitchell (PhD Candidate), Assoc. Prof. Pete A Biro, Dr. Christa Beckmann
David Mitchell, Email: email@example.com
Bell, A., Sih, A. 2007 Exposure to predation generates personality in threespined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus). Ecol. Lett. 10, 828 - 834.
Stamps, J. A., Frankenhuis, W. E. 2016 Bayesian Models of Development. Trends in ecology & evolution. 31, 260-268.
Salinas, S., Munch, S. B. 2012 Thermal legacies: transgenerational effects of temperature on growth in a vertebrate. Ecol. Lett. 15, 159-163. (10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01721.x)
Biro, P.A. & Stamps, J.A. (2008). Are animal personality traits linked to life-history productivity? Trends in ecology & evolution, 23, 361-368.
TECHNIQUES INVOLVED IN THE PROJECT:
Animal husbandry/fish keeping. EthoVision tracking software and behavioural observations. Anaesthetising and photographing fish. Statistics.
REQUIRED SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
Diligence, some statistical basics, interest in behavioural ecology.
Notice that the internship is at Deakin University, Victoria, Australia.