Sunday, August 4, 2013

Focus on Creative Inquiry 2013

Poster # 85
Personality in Lobsters: Do Juvenile Spiny Lobsters Show Repeatability in Their Social and Anti-social Behaviors?
Mentor: Dr. Michael Childress, Biological Sciences
Students: Larissa Clarke, Katie Cunningham, Katherine Heldt

Caribbean spiny lobsters are attracted to conspecific odor cues which lead to den cohabitation. However, recent studies have found that den sharing is also influenced by aggression toward conspecifics. Since aggression differences among individuals are often a result of distinct behavioral phenotypes, we wanted to test if such phenotypes occur in juvenile lobsters. Our study investigates whether gregarious and/or aggressive behaviors are repeatable for juvenile lobsters. We measured aggression by observing the number of aggressive acts (antennae flicks/pushes and body pushes) exhibited for 7 nights. We measured gregariousness by observing conspecific odor preferences in y-maze choice tests. These behaviors were measured one week after capture (time 1) and again after three months in captivity (time 2). Repeatability was determined by comparing the change in behaviors from time 1 to time 2. A significant correlation between the expression of these behaviors is evidence for repeatability and potentially fixed behavioral phenotypes. This project was partially supported by the Creative Inquiry Program.

Poster # 148
Who says Intermediacy is a Bad Thing? Influences of Community Factors on Coral Diversity in the Florida Keys
Mentor: Dr. Michael Childress, Biological Sciences
Students: Kelsey McClellan, Brandt Quirk-Royal, Kylie Smith

The patch reefs of the Florida Keys contain a diversity of coral species, which provide a foundation for a community of organisms. The intermediate disturbance hypothesis is an ecological model that suggests intermediate levels of disturbance allow for high species diversity. Based on this hypothesis, we examined if coral species diversity was related to various community factors on 14 patch reefs throughout the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Survey data of the reef was used to evaluate the complexity and species composition. We found coral species diversity was unrelated to depth or topographic complexity. Coral species diversity was negatively related to macroalgal cover. Additionally, coral species diversity was highest for intermediate levels of parrotfish abundance and parrotfish species diversity. These results suggest that parrotfish may play an important role in coral ecosystems. This project was partially supported by the Creative Inquiry program.

Poster # 73
Effects of Ocean Acidification on Aggression and Den Sharing Behavior of Juvenile Caribbean Spiny Lobsters, Panulirus argus.
Mentor: Dr. Michael Childress, Biological Sciences
Students: Scott Miller, Katherine Heldt

Acidification of seawater has been shown to impair chemoreception ability in marine crustaceans, yet no work has been done on how this may affect social behavior. We examined the effects of lowered pH on aggression, cleaning, and den sharing behavior in social, juvenile Caribbean spiny lobsters, Panulirus argus. Lobsters were observed to determine the number of aggressive acts, antennule wipes (cleaning behavior), and antennule flicks (“sniffing” behavior) in normal and acidified conditions. Y-maze trials were conducted in normal and acidified environments to determine if acidification impacts lobster activity levels and attraction to conspecific odors. We found that lobsters performed fewer aggressive acts and shared dens less frequently in the acidified environment. Decreased antennule flicks and increased antennule wipes were also observed in lower pH. Our study suggests that ocean acidification impairs lobster aggression, den sharing, and cleaning behaviors, which could have wide-ranging impacts on this ecologically and commercially important species. This project was partially supported by the Creative Inquiry program.

No comments: