Dr. Kate Laskowski
“You are unique, just like everyone else: What clonal fish can tell us about behavioral individuality”
January 28th 12:30 – 1:30 pm ET
Individual behavioral variation is ubiquitous across the animal kingdom. Explaining the continued generation and maintenance of such variation is a fundamental goal in behavioral and evolutionary ecology. Our research tests key predictions drawn from theoretical models about how social interactions can drive the emergence of consistent individual behavioral variation. This work has shown that competitive interactions, especially in early life, can play a particularly important role in shaping long-term individual behavioral decisions. Now, using the clonal Amazon molly and an innovative high-resolution tracking system we are following the behavioral development of individual fish from birth in, up to now, unprecedented detail. This allows us to pinpoint exactly when and in response to which cues individual behavioral variation emerges. Most recently, we have shown that individual behavioral variation appears almost immediately after birth and then continues to diverge over ontogeny. Our results highlight that in order to fully explain the presence of individual behavioral variation we need a comprehensive conceptual framework that explicitly accounts for the developmental process.