Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Finding Nemo ...How do fish find and recognise ’friends’?

01.12.2004


While millions of people across the world enjoyed the tale of a father fish in search of his lost son in the film Finding Nemo, a research project at the University of Leicester has delved into the reality of how fish find and recognise one another.

In a case of life imitating art, the scientists at Leicester have discovered that there are techniques that ’friendly fish’ use to find one another.

The study by Dr Paul Hart and Dr Ashley Ward, of the Department of Biology at the University of Leicester, suggests:

  • fish are attentive to who they interact with
  • they use senses other than vision to find ’friends’
  • fish stick around with those who are most like them
  • fish like others from the same ’neighbourhood’

The University of Leicester study, funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, has important implications for understanding the dynamics of fish reproduction as well as environmental and habitat protection.



Dr Hart said: "People often think of individual animals as little machines, which can be moved around and dealt with as objects with no regard for how individuals relate to each other. "Our research, along with other studies elsewhere, are showing that even fish are not ignorant of who they are interacting with. "Our work suggests that although fish can recognize familiar individuals they do not do it through individual visual recognition."

The scientists worked with threespine sticklebacks for the purposes of their research. These fish are widely distributed in rivers and streams in Britain. Over the past 50 years the species has been used extensively to study behaviour and over the past 5 years it has been studied by scientists interested in the influence of genes on the development of shape and body structure in vertebrates.

"In the Department of Biology we placed groups of fish in particular environmental conditions. For example, one group were kept for a short while in salty water whilst another group were all fed the water flea for a short period and yet a third group were all fed midge larvae.

"Subsequent choice experiments showed that fish preferred to join groups of fish that had been kept in the same conditions as themselves. Fish that had been in salty water preferred others also from salty water. These experiments showed that fish preferred familiar individuals but they did not show how they made the discrimination."

It is believed the fish could be using mainly smell to find familiar fish - so that they can stick around with those who come from the same background. "Knowing who you are feeding with makes a difference to how well you do at gathering food. If you’re with strangers then there’s less incentive to cooperate with them and each individual will be looking out only for itself.

"In cooperative groups, individuals in the group will produce more offspring, either directly or indirectly via the enhanced reproductive output of sisters and brothers, than will individuals operating on their own."

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dune ecosystem modelling
23.06.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht Understanding animal social networks can aid wildlife conservation
23.06.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>