Size-selective harvesting impacts learning and decision-making in zebrafish, Danio rerio

Rezensierter Artikel

Size-selective harvesting common to fisheries is known to evolutionarily alter life history and behavioral traits in exploited fish populations. Changes in these traits may, in turn, modify learning and decision-making abilities through energetic trade-offs with brain investment that can vary across development or via correlations with personality traits. We examined the hypothesis of size-selection induced alteration of learning performance in three selection lines of zebrafish (Danio rerio) generated through intensive harvesting for large, small and random body-size for five generations followed by no further selection for ten generations that allowed examining evolutionarily fixed outcomes. We tested associative learning ability throughout ontogeny in fish groups using a color-discrimination paradigm with a food reward, and the propensity to make group decisions in an associative task. All selection lines showed significant associative abilities that improved across ontogeny. The large-harvested line fish showed a significantly slower associative learning speed as subadults and adults than the controls. We found no evidence of memory decay as a function of size-selection. Decisionmaking speed did not vary across lines, but the large-harvested line made faster decisions during the probe trial. Collectively, our results show that large size-selective harvesting evolutionarily alters associative and decision-making abilities in zebrafish, which could affect resource acquisition and survival in exploited fish populations.

Roy, T., Rohr, T., Arlinghaus, R. 2023. Size-selective harvesting impacts learning and decision-making in zebrafish, Danio rerio. Behavioral Ecology, 34, 4, 682-694.

Veröffentlicht : 2023
Erschienen in : Behavioral Ecology, 34, 4, 682-694