Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Follow that prawn!

17.12.2007
A new study from the University of Leicester reveals that prawns can be used by fish species to find the best places to eat.

Research into the behaviour patterns of sticklebacks highlights the fact they use prawns to determine the best place to be. Prawns, it seems however, don’t have the same aptitude to use the sticklebacks for their advantage

The research from the University of Leicester Department of Biology has been published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society by Mike Webster (now at St Andrews), Ashley Ward and Paul Hart.

Professor Hart said: “It is a common experience for most of us to look at what other people are doing when we ourselves are not sure of what to do next. One of the benefits of being a social species is that we can tap into the expertise of our fellow humans to improve our own chances of success when circumstances are uncertain. Many would argue that a key element in the development of culture is the human ability to observe other’s behaviour and to copy it.

“The more we learn about non-human behaviour the more we find that other animals show behavioural precursors to our own. These early forms of a behaviour may not be as elaborate as our own, but they are directed towards solving the same problems of surviving and getting enough to eat.

“Our research reveals sticklebacks can use other species to find the right place to be. Sticklebacks occur alongside common prawns in the brackish waters of many of our estuaries and forage together within the same areas of shallow water.

“It has been fascinating to learn from the new results that sticklebacks can use the presence of prawns that have been kept in the same conditions as themselves to determine where to be. When a stickleback on its own was put in a position where it could either join a group of prawns that had been kept in the same environmental conditions as itself or a group that had been kept in different conditions, the fish spent more time with the prawns from its own environment.

“A further experiment showed that this choice could have important implications for feeding. When strange and familiar groups of prawns were accompanied by a swarm of water fleas that the fish could see but not capture, the subject stickleback made more attacks at the water fleas nearest to the familiar group of prawns. The implication is that choosing to be near prawns from their own habitat influences not only where sticklebacks go, but also where they feed, and what they might end up feeding upon.

“In contrast, the prawns cannot use sticklebacks to find the right place to be. Prawns are attracted to other prawns that come from the same habitat as themselves, but not to sticklebacks from the same habitat. As a result the relationship between the species is asymmetric and sticklebacks could be said to be exploiting the information contained in the presence of prawns from their habitat. The prawns are signals that combine together with chemical cues to provide information to sticklebacks on where to be.”

These results illustrate how complex are the relations between animals in a natural ecosystem.

Professor Hart added: “We think of animals as mostly interacting with other members of their species and essentially ignoring all other kinds. This work shows that, just like humans, animals have a wide variety of relationships with other species creating a diverse network which is not based only on who eats whom. An ecosystem also contains significant information networks where individuals with widely separate taxonomic status can have interactions that are important to at least one of the pair.”

Ather Mirza | alfa
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk/press/experts/intro.html

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Treatment of saline wastewater during algae utilization
14.05.2019 | Jacobs University Bremen gGmbH

nachricht Plastic gets a do-over: Breakthrough discovery recycles plastic from the inside out
07.05.2019 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

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: The geometry of an electron determined for the first time

Physicists at the University of Basel are able to show for the first time how a single electron looks in an artificial atom. A newly developed method enables them to show the probability of an electron being present in a space. This allows improved control of electron spins, which could serve as the smallest information unit in a future quantum computer. The experiments were published in Physical Review Letters and the related theory in Physical Review B.

The spin of an electron is a promising candidate for use as the smallest information unit (qubit) of a quantum computer. Controlling and switching this spin or...

Im Focus: Self-repairing batteries

UTokyo engineers develop a way to create high-capacity long-life batteries

Engineers at the University of Tokyo continually pioneer new ways to improve battery technology. Professor Atsuo Yamada and his team recently developed a...

Im Focus: Quantum Cloud Computing with Self-Check

With a quantum coprocessor in the cloud, physicists from Innsbruck, Austria, open the door to the simulation of previously unsolvable problems in chemistry, materials research or high-energy physics. The research groups led by Rainer Blatt and Peter Zoller report in the journal Nature how they simulated particle physics phenomena on 20 quantum bits and how the quantum simulator self-verified the result for the first time.

Many scientists are currently working on investigating how quantum advantage can be exploited on hardware already available today. Three years ago, physicists...

Im Focus: Accelerating quantum technologies with materials processing at the atomic scale

'Quantum technologies' utilise the unique phenomena of quantum superposition and entanglement to encode and process information, with potentially profound benefits to a wide range of information technologies from communications to sensing and computing.

However a major challenge in developing these technologies is that the quantum phenomena are very fragile, and only a handful of physical systems have been...

Im Focus: A step towards probabilistic computing

Working group led by physicist Professor Ulrich Nowak at the University of Konstanz, in collaboration with a team of physicists from Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, demonstrates how skyrmions can be used for the computer concepts of the future

When it comes to performing a calculation destined to arrive at an exact result, humans are hopelessly inferior to the computer. In other areas, humans are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Dissolving protein traffic jam at the entrance of mitochondria

23.05.2019 | Life Sciences

Fraunhofer IBMT at BIO 2019: Automation solutions for workflows in stem cell process engineering

23.05.2019 | Trade Fair News

Galaxies As “Cosmic Cauldrons”

23.05.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>