Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Local Adaptation of Behavioral Responses to Risk in Populations of Black Surfperch (Embiotoca jacksoni)
by Satterfield, Darien, M.S., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 72; 13898954
Abstract (Summary)

Although behaviors can be flexible, behavioral tendencies (e.g., the reactivity of individuals) may be heritable, and it is possible that behavioral tendencies evolve via natural selection. For example, in high-risk environments, individuals that exhibit greater vigilance and/or reactivity may be better at avoiding predators and thus have a fitness advantage over less vigilant individuals. In low-risk environments, vigilance/reactivity may be a disadvantage for fitness if it results in fewer opportunities to feed. Marine fishes often behave differently among populations experiencing differences in risk, but it is not clear whether such differences in behavior are innate or learned. I tested whether black surfperch (Embiotoca jacksoni) from high- and low-risk populations exhibited differences in reactivity. In field surveys, surfperch in high-risk locations had larger Flight Initiation Distances than surfperch in relatively low-risk locations. In a test of whether these behavioral differences are inherited, I collected pregnant fish from a high-risk population (Santa Catalina Island) and a low-risk population (Palos Verdes). In this “common garden” experiment, I compared the behaviors of lab-born offspring. Fish from the high-risk population exhibited greater reactivity, had higher swimming velocities, and spent less time sheltering than fish from the low-risk population. Though the overall differences persisted, in repeated trials over time I found that these populations become increasingly similar when reared in a common lab environment. These results suggest that innate behavioral differences may evolve in response to spatial differences in predation risk. However, a degree of behavioral plasticity is maintained, and even though individuals may differ with respect to their overall behavioral tendencies, behaviors can be adjusted in response to current environmental conditions.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Johnson, Darren W.
Commitee: Steele, Mark A., Lowe, Christopher G.
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Biological Sciences
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/2(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Biology, Biological oceanography
Keywords: Antipredator behavior, Behavioral tendency, Black surfperch, Local adaptation, Reactivity, Temperament
Publication Number: 13898954
ISBN: 9781085666947
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