Social group size and shelter availability influence individual metabolic traits in a social fish

Chrétien, E., Boisclair, D., Cooke, S. J. and Killen, S. S. (2021) Social group size and shelter availability influence individual metabolic traits in a social fish. Integrative Organismal Biology, 3(1), (doi: 10.1093/iob/obab032)

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Group living is widespread among animal species and yields both costs and benefits. Presence of conspecifics can restrict or enhance the expression of individual behaviour, and the recent social environment is thought to affect behavioural responses in later contexts, even when individuals are alone. However, little is known about how social group size influences the expression of individual physiological traits, including metabolic rates. There is some evidence that shoaling can reduce fish metabolic rates but this variable may be affected by habitat conditions such as shelter availability via density-dependent processes. We investigated how social group size and shelter availability influence Eurasian minnow Phoxinus phoxinus metabolic rates estimated by respirometry. Respirometry trials were conducted on fish in isolation before and after they were housed for three weeks in a social treatment consisting in a specific group size (n = 4 or 8) and shelter availability (presence or absence of plant shelter in the experimental tank). Plant shelter was placed over respirometers for half of the duration of the respirometry trials, allowing estimation of minimum day-time and night-time metabolic rates in both conditions (in the presence or absence of plant shelter). Standard metabolic rate (SMR), maximum metabolic rate (MMR), and aerobic scope (AS) were also estimated over the entire trial. Minimum day-time and night-time metabolic rates estimated while in presence of plant shelter were lower than when estimated in absence of plant shelter, both before and after individuals were housed in their social treatment. After the social treatment, SMR were higher for fish that were held in groups of four as compared to that of fish held in groups of eight while MMR showed no difference. Plant shelter availability during the social treatments did not influence SMR or MMR. Our results suggest that social group size may directly influence energy demands of individuals, highlighting the importance of understanding the role of group size on variations in physiological traits associated with energy expenditure.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada [CGS-D3-504648-2017 to E.C., RGPIN-2015-05427 to D.B.]; Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et Technologies [199511-2016 to E.C.]; European Research Council [640004 to S.S.K.]; and Natural Environment Research Council [NE/J019100/1 to S.S.K.].
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Killen, Professor Shaun
Creator Roles:
Killen, S. S.Conceptualization, Methodology, Resources, Writing – review and editing, Supervision, Project administration, Funding acquisition
Authors: Chrétien, E., Boisclair, D., Cooke, S. J., and Killen, S. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Integrative Organismal Biology
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):2517-4843
Published Online:01 November 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Authors
First Published:First published in 3(1): obab032
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons Licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
167015The Influence of Individual Physiology on Group Behaviour in Fish SchoolsShaun KillenNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/J019100/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine