Líffræðifélag Íslands - biologia.is
Líffræðiráðstefnan 2017

Erindi/veggspjald / Talk/poster E57

Brain plasticity in brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) differing in foraging style

Höfundar / Authors: Karalea Cantera (1), Rob McLaughlin (1)

Starfsvettvangur / Affiliations: 1. University of Guelph

Kynnir / Presenter: Karalea Cantera

Differences in behaviour are often associated with the morphological changes used to characterize phenotypic diversification within and among species. Young-of-the-year brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) in still water pools along the sides of streams display distinct foraging styles. Some individuals are sedentary, feeding on crustacean prey from lower part of the water column, while other individuals are active, feeding on insect prey near and at the water surface. Sedentary individuals have a smaller telencephalon, the portion of the brain involved in space use, than active individuals. My research is testing the degree to which the differences in brain morphology are the outcome of genotype differences versus phenotypic plasticity. Recently emerged individuals from 24 families were raised in environmental conditions requiring individuals adopt either a sedentary or active foraging style for three months, after which their brains were removed and the relative volumes of brain regions were quantified. For this talk, I will examine the prediction that, within families, individuals raised in the environment favouring a sedentary foraging tactic will have a smaller telencephalon than individuals raised in the environment requiring an active foraging tactic, as expected for phenotypic plasticity. The findings from my research will improve our understanding of the proximate mechanisms influencing the diversification of behaviour and brain form within populations.