The role of physiological traits in assortment among and within fish shoals

Killen, S. S. , Marras, S., Nadler, L. and Domenici, P. (2017) The role of physiological traits in assortment among and within fish shoals. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 372(1727), 20160233. (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0233) (PMID:28673911) (PMCID:PMC5498295)

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Individuals of gregarious species often group with conspecifics to which they are phenotypically similar. This among-group assortment has been studied for body size, sex and relatedness. However, the role of physiological traits has been largely overlooked. Here, we discuss mechanisms by which physiological traits—particularly those related to metabolism and locomotor performance—may result in phenotypic assortment not only among but also within animal groups. At the among-group level, varying combinations of passive assortment, active assortment, phenotypic plasticity and selective mortality may generate phenotypic differences among groups. Even within groups, however, individual variation in energy requirements, aerobic and anaerobic capacity, neurological lateralization and tolerance to environmental stressors are likely to produce differences in the spatial location of individuals or associations between group-mates with specific physiological phenotypes. Owing to the greater availability of empirical research, we focus on groups of fishes (i.e. shoals and schools). Increased knowledge of physiological mechanisms influencing among- and within-group assortment will enhance our understanding of fundamental concepts regarding optimal group size, predator avoidance, group cohesion, information transfer, life-history strategies and the evolutionary effects of group membership. In a broader perspective, predicting animal responses to environmental change will be impossible without a comprehensive understanding of the physiological basis of the formation and functioning of animal social groups. This article is part of the themed issue ‘Physiological determinants of social behaviour in animals’.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Killen, Professor Shaun and Marras, Dr Stefano
Authors: Killen, S. S., Marras, S., Nadler, L., and Domenici, P.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN (Online):1471-2970
Published Online:03 July 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 372(1727): 20160233
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons license

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
594261The Influence of Individual Physiology on Group Behaviour in Fish SchoolsShaun KillenNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/J019100/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED