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Title: Coping styles and learning in fish : developing behavioural tools for welfare-friendly aquaculture
Author: Mesquita, Flavia de Oliveira
ISNI:       0000 0004 2704 0520
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2011
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During the course of this programme of work, two related studies were carried out in collaboration with colleagues in the Division of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Together with Hussein Jen-Jan, we explored some hidden costs of an aggressive, proactive life style by examining respiratory function in relation to coping strategy in common carp (chapter 6).  Morphometric analysis of the fine structure of the gills was used to estimate respiratory area and histological analysis of sections through the gill filaments was used to measure the extent to which the secondary lamellae were obscured by epithelial cells. There was a significant relationship between risk-taking phenotype and both the size of the respiratory surface and the extent to which this is exposed as opposed to covered with epithelial cells. Risk-taking fish had larger and more exposed respiratory surfaces than did risk-avoiding fish, with fish with intermediate risk-taking phenotype having intermediate scores. These differences are interpreted as an adaptation to the known high resting metabolic rate of risk-taking fish (Chapter 6).  Together with Priyadarshini, we look at social interactions and growth in relation to risk-taking phenotype in goldfish. Within the social groups, though most goldfish showed no aggressive behaviour, some of the fish attacked their companions at least once per minute of observation and some individuals showed as many as 8 attacks per minute. These levels are surprisingly high for what is usually seen as a non-aggressive species. In groups comprising 3 goldfish of each risk-taking category, the risk-avoiding fish showed relatively little aggression. Overall, fish that showed any aggression within social groups gained preferential access to a restricted food supply (Chapter 6).  There were no differences in weight, length or condition between risk-taking and risk-avoiding goldfish at the point of initial screening, but by the end of the experiment the risk-avoiding fish held in groups with other risk-avoiders had gained less weight and had strikingly lower condition factors compared to the other categories of fish (i.e. all risk-avoiders and risk-takers held in mixed groups). It is suggested that some sort of social facilitation of fear keeps levels of stress high in groups composed entirely of risk-avoiding fish (Chapter 6).  The implications of all these results are considered in a final general discussion (Chapter 7).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling ; QL Zoology