My latest paper is accepted: “Risk-taking and associative learning in rats”, in the open-access journal Royal Society Open Science. We show that males and females differ in how they cope with risk, with males being more risk-prone and behave more in line with previous experiences, while females are more risk-averse and responsive to changes in their current environment. ∞
Throughout the animal kingdom, individuals have been found to behave consistently different from one another over time or across different contexts. This is now mostly referred to as “animal personality”. As part of my PhD I want to understand what role such personality traits play in the structuring and functioning of social groups, i.e. in collective behaviour.
Today I am running an experiment to investigate the consistency of risk-taking behaviour, also known as the boldness personality trait. I work with three-spined sticklebacks that I caught in wild streams near Cambridge. The three-spined stickleback is a wonderful little fish that is not only easy to work with and keep in the lab but a model system for collective behaviour and animal personality.