Response to environmental change in rainbow trout selected for divergent stress coping styles

Ruiz-Gomez, M.L., Huntingford, F.A., Øverli, Ø., Thörnqvist, P.-O. and Höglund, E. (2010) Response to environmental change in rainbow trout selected for divergent stress coping styles. Physiology and Behavior, 102(3-4), pp. 317-322. (doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2010.11.023)

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An extensive literature has documented differences in the way individual animals cope with environmental challenges and stressors. Two broad patterns of individual variability in behavioural and physiological stress responses are described as the proactive and reactive stress coping styles. In addition to variability in the stress response, contrasting coping styles may encompass a general difference in behavioural flexibility as opposed to routine formation in response to more subtle environmental changes and non-threatening novelties. In the present study two different manipulations, relocating food from a previously learned location, and introducing a novel object yielded contrasting responses in rainbow trout selected for high (HR) and low (LR) post stress plasma cortisol levels. No difference was seen in the rate of learning the original food location; however, proactive LR fish were markedly slower than reactive HR fish in altering their food seeking behaviour in response to relocated food. In contrast, LR fish largely ignored a novel object which disrupted feeding in HR fish. Hence, it appears that the two lines appraise environmental cues differently. This observation suggests that differences in responsiveness to environmental change are an integral component of heritable stress coping styles, which in this particular case, had opposite effects on foraging efficiency in different situations. Context dependent fitness effects may thus explain the persistence of stable divergence of this evolutionary widespread trait complex.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Huntingford, Professor Felicity
Authors: Ruiz-Gomez, M.L., Huntingford, F.A., Øverli, Ø., Thörnqvist, P.-O., and Höglund, E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences
Journal Name:Physiology and Behavior

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