Do fish prefer to associate with conspecifics with similar metabolic rates?

Persson, Anna S.M. (2017) Do fish prefer to associate with conspecifics with similar metabolic rates? MSc(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Living in groups is common across animal taxa as associating with conspecifics can create a lot of benefits for individual group members. It can aid in predator detection and avoidance, foraging and reproductive success. However, the individuals which make up the group can influence how these benefits are distributed between the group members. Previous studies have shown preference to associate with morphologically and behaviourally similar conspecifics, but it is less understood how physiological traits affect group assortment.
In this study I was interested in investigating if metabolic rate influences the choice of group mates. When presented with a choice between two groups (high or low SMR) of conspecifics all fish, regardless of their own phenotype, preferred to associate with fish of high SMR. Fish with higher SMR were also found to have a higher average velocity during the trials. Higher activity can indicate higher fitness and foraging capabilities. This could help explain why fish with lower metabolism also showed a preference to associate with fish with higher SMR despite risk of being outcompeted. Fish were also tested in an open field trial where they were allowed to swim freely in groups of different compositions based on SMR phenotypes (homogenous high SMR, homogenous low SMR and heterogeneous mixed SMR). No difference was found in the number of associations among individuals, both between groups and within the heterogeneous mixed groups. My findings could indicate that other traits rather than metabolic rate has a stronger effect on within school sorting.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: collective behaviour, group assortment, metabolic rate, social network.
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Supervisor's Name: Killen, Dr. Shaun S. and Norin, Dr. Tommy
Date of Award: 2017
Depositing User: Miss Anna S. M. Persson
Unique ID: glathesis:2017-8595
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2018 14:52
Last Modified: 02 Mar 2018 10:24

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