Environment and change

The influence of experience and environmental change on behaviour

This theme explores how animals respond to the environment in which they live. This includes the physical environment, such as the distribution of resources, water flow or turbidity, and the social environment: the behaviour of other individuals around them. Under this theme, we are particularly interested in how experience of a particular environment shapes behavioural responses, and the effects of environmental change on behaviour. Research projects under this theme include:

The impact of environmental turbidity on anti-predator, social and foraging behaviour

In aquatic environments, environmental turbidity (either naturally occurring or exacerbated by human activity), can cause a number of problems for aquatic organisms, particularly affecting behaviours based on vision, such as foraging, mating, social and anti-predator behaviours. We explore the effect of both organic (algae) and inorganic (clay particles) on behaviour, particularly in the context of group-living behaviours such as association patterns, confusion and oddity effects, and the selfish herd.

Researchers: Helen Kimbell, Ása Johannesen, Khia Dobbinson
Funding: University of Hull (2011-2015), Faroe Islands Research Council (2009-2013)

The effects of early and recent experience on the development of behaviour

Animals can compensate for sensory deprivation in one sense by an improvement in the performance of an alternative sense, known as sensory plasticity. This can be particularly important in environments where vision is hampered, such as low light or turbid water. We explore how exposure to these environments during both juvenile and adult periods affects the ability of fish to adapt within their own lifetime.

Researchers: Ben Chapman, Helen Kimbell
Funding: University of Leeds (2006-2009), University of Hull (20011-2015)

 

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