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Personality, mate choice, parental care and their transgenerational effects in the monogamous convict cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata – FISH-MOMA

Personality, mate choice, parental care and their transgenerational effects in the monogamous convict cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata

The aim of the FISH-MOMA project is to study the relationship between personality and mating preferences, and its transgenerational consequences on offspring phenotype and fitness. The central hypothesis of this project is that early social environment provided by the parents (potentially modulated by personality, mating preferences and social disturbance) is translated into modulation of offspring phenotype so as to meet local environmental conditions.

Personality and similarity within the pair

Parents can influence offspring phenotype and fitness through both genetic and non-genetic pathways. Parental effects can be considered as a bridge between the environment experienced by parental and offspring generations, in which environmental variation experienced by parents, mainly mothers, is translated into adaptive phenotypic variation in offspring. Despite it is likely that personality traits can influence the pattern of mutual mating preferences, parental effects mediated by the interaction between mate choice and parent personality is poorly characterized, particularly in a context of different reproductive strategies like in high fecund vertebrates. This hypothesis will be tested in the monogamous and biparental convict cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata, commonly used in studies focusing on mate choice under experimental and natural conditions. The FISH-MOMA project will be organized around three tasks: i) the personality profiling of individuals and subsequently the design of the behavioural testing procedures; ii) to quantify the effects of parent personality on reproductive success; and the consequences on egg hormone levels and offspring phenotype; ii) to assess the adaptive value of parental effects by measuring the effects of early deprivation of parental care on offspring behavioural and personality profiles.

The personality profiling of female and male fishes will be of main importance in the study. One main challenge will be to develop behavioural paradigms to characterize the personality profile of individuals and subsequently analyze their behavioural responses to set up a personality index. Using this index, we will then investigate the consequences of variation in the social environmental conditions experienced by parents, resulting from parent personality, mate choice and parental care, on offspring phenotype and fitness.

The procedure for personality profiling has been validated in the convict cichlid. The first results showed a behavioural syndrom in this species.

FISH-MOMA is an interdisciplinary project, which combines disciplines as ethology, behavioural ecology and endocrinology of social behaviour associated to an integrative and transgenerational approach of parental effects. The expected results of the FISH-MOMA project, discussed from an adaptive and evolutionary perspective, will allow us to better understand why consistent individual differences in behaviour are maintained across generations and the adaptive significance of non-genetic parental influences.

Analyses of the data are currently being processed, no scientific papers are available yet.

Parents can influence offspring phenotype and fitness through both genetic and non-genetic pathways. Parental effects can be considered as a bridge between the environment experienced by parental and offspring generations, in which environmental variation experienced by parents, mainly mother, is translated into adaptive phenotypic variation in offspring. Despite it is likely that personality traits can influence the pattern of mutual mating preferences, parental effects mediated by the interaction between mate choice and parent personality is poorly characterized, particularly in a context of different reproductive strategies like in high fecund vertebrates. The novelty of the FISH-MOMA project is to study the relationship between personality and mating preferences, and its transgenerational consequences on offspring phenotype and fitness. The central hypothesis of this project is that early social environment provided by the parents (potentially modulated by personality, mating preferences and social disturbance) is translated into modulation of offspring phenotype so as to meet local environmental conditions. This hypothesis will be tested in the monogamous and biparental convict cichlid Amatitlania nigrofasciata, commonly used in studies focusing on mate choice under experimental and natural conditions. The FISH-MOMA project will be organized around 5 tasks: task 0 is the coordination of the project; task 1 is the personality profiling of individuals and subsequently the design of the behavioural testing procedures; task 2 will deal with quantifying the effects of parent personality on the pattern of mutual mate choice; and the consequences on egg hormone levels and offspring phenotype; task 3 will assess the adaptive value of parental effects by measuring the effects of early deprivation of parental care on offspring behavioural and personality profiles; task 4 will focus on communication. FISH-MOMA is an interdisciplinary project, which combines disciplines as ethology, behavioural ecology and endocrinology of social behaviour associated to an integrative and transgenerational approach of parental effects. The expected results of the FISH-MOMA project, discussed from an adaptive and evolutionary perspective, will allow us to better understand why consistent individual differences in behaviour are maintained across generations and the adaptive significance of non-genetic parental influences.

Project coordination

Cécile SCHWEITZER (laboratoire Biogéosciences UMR CNRS 6282, Université de Bourgogne) – cec.schweitzer@gmail.com

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.

Partner

laboratoire Biogéosciences UMR CNRS 6282, Université de Bourgogne

Help of the ANR 257,479 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: February 2013 - 36 Months

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