Is the strength of the antipredator response in male sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) affected by the type of predator cue they receive?
Michaela M. Rogers
Climate change is inducing rapid changes to the environment, such as habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and pollutant exposure. A strong interest lies in how organisms will cope with rapid human-induced changes. One way organisms adapt is through transgenerational plasticity (TGP), which occurs when experiences in the parental environment influence the phenotype of their offspring. Previous literature shows that male three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) exposed to a predator had offspring that were smaller and less active – a phenotype indicative of a high predation environment. This suggests that TGP primes offspring for the environment they are going to encounter, but less is known about how parents use cues in their environment to elicit these effects. Individuals may rely primarily on one of type of cue (e.g. visual, olfactory) or use different cues simultaneously to assess predation. I exposed G. aculeatus males to either a control, visual only, olfactory only, or combination of visual and olfactory cues of a novel trout predator (Oncorhynchus mykiss) for 10-13 days prior to fertilization. I scored male behavior for 5 minutes before and after exposure to the trout. The results presented here determine whether fathers behave differently depending on the type of predator cue they received. If one type of cue is recognized as more dangerous, then males will exhibit more antipredator behaviors post-exposure compared to pre-exposure (e.g. spending more time oriented to the predator and more time in the back of the tank further from the predator). If fathers use multiple sources of cues simultaneously, then fathers exposed to both visual and olfactory cue of predation will exhibit more antipredator behaviors than fathers that received only visual or only olfactory cues. Recognizing multiple cues can increase the reliability of information in a variable environment where parents need to accurately prepare offspring for future environments.
Primary Advisor's Department
Stander Symposium project, College of Arts and Sciences
United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Life Below Water
"Is the strength of the antipredator response in male sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) affected by the type of predator cue they receive?" (2022). Stander Symposium Projects. 2451.