Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Animals have personalities, too

28.04.2011
An individual's personality can have a big effect on their life. Some people are outgoing and gregarious while others find novel situations stressful which can be detrimental to their health and wellbeing. Increasingly, scientists are discovering that animals are no different.

A new study led by Dr Kathryn Arnold, of the Environment Department at the University of York has added important experimental evidence showing that animal personalities are reflected in their oxidative stress profiles. The research is published in the Journal of Experimental Biology.

Dr Arnold teamed up with graduate student Katherine Herborn, at the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow, to classify the personalities of 22 greenfinches.

They tested each bird's reactions to a novel situation by adding a brightly coloured cookie-cutter to each greenfinch's food bowl, and timing how long it took for the birds to pluck up courage to approach the food. The researchers found that the boldest birds took only a few seconds to overcome their fear while more timid birds took up to 30 minutes to approach their meal.

Dr Arnold and Katherine Herborn also measured the greenfinches' motivation to explore by attaching an intriguing object to the birds' perches and timing how long it took them to land next to it. However, there was no correlation between the birds' courage and curiosity.

The researchers then measured the birds' damaging reactive oxygen metabolite levels and their defences against them. Comparing the bird's blood oxidative profiles with their personalities, the team found that the most timid birds had the highest levels of damaging oxygen toxins and the weakest defences, so they suffered more oxidative stress than braver individuals. Also, the scientists found that the most curious birds (those that approached objects fastest) had better defences against oxidative damage than less curious greenfinches.

Dr Arnold wants to extend the work to establish how personality traits affects birds in the wild. She says, "Neophobic birds – those that are afraid of new things -- may suffer high costs of oxidative stress and die early because they paid these physiological costs, but they might also be less likely to be eaten by a predator because they are more wary than bolder birds ."

The research also involved scientists at The Edward Grey Institute, Department of Zoology at Oxford and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition at Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire. The research was part-funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and the Royal Society.

David Garner | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.york.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

nachricht Visualizing single molecules in whole cells with a new spin
13.12.2017 | Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>