A new study from the University of Aberdeen has shown for the first time that temperature can influence the social behavior of fish.
The study published today (October 19) in Global Change Biologysuggests that as temperatures rise due to climate change, some animals may become less sociable as a result.
Scientists investigating the potential impact of climate change on social behavior of animal populations studied freshwater fish from warm and cold habitats in Iceland.
dr. Natalie Pilakouta, of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Aberdeen, led the study. She said: “Because of the intense geothermal activity in Iceland, there are many geothermally heated lakes in addition to ambient temperature lakes. The three-spined stickleback is a small fish species found in both types of lakes.”
By comparing fish from both environments, the researchers were able to identify the evolutionary changes that occurred after living in a warm environment for many generations. These geothermal populations give us a glimpse into the future effects of climate change.
dr. Pilakouta added: “We found that fish from warm habitats were less sociable than those from colder environments. In addition, fish bred at high temperatures in the lab were also less sociable than fish bred at low temperatures.
“We could clearly see that some fish stayed close to their groups, but those that were less sociable swam away.
“This study provides new insight into how a warming world may affect the sociality of animal populations in the future. Social behavior can influence an individual’s vulnerability to predators, the ability to find food and disease risk. Therefore, a change in social Behaviors resulting from climate change can have major implications for individual fitness, group dynamics and population survival.”
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Natalie Pilakouta et al, A warmer environment can reduce coziness in an ectotherm, Global Change Biology (2022). DOI: 10.1111/gcb.16451
Quote: Temperature can affect social behavior in fish (2022, October 19) retrieved October 19, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-temperature-affect-social-behavior-fish.html
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