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Enrichment and variability of rearing environment influence brain size and behaviour of hatchery-reared wild brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis)

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Title: Enrichment and variability of rearing environment influence brain size and behaviour of hatchery-reared wild brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis)
Author: Goodwin, Melissa
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: McLaughlin, Rob
Abstract: Fishes reared in conventional hatchery conditions can show reduced ability to respond to novel situations, potentially reducing their post-release survival and contribution to wild population recovery. Research has hypothesized that rearing fish under more complex and variable conditions will (1) encourage brain development, (2) improve behavioral performance in novel situations, and (3) potentially increase individual survival upon release. I evaluated the first two hypotheses by rearing subsets of juvenile brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) from eight families under treatment conditions differing in habitat complexity, and variability in the location of habitat structure and the timing and location of feeding. After a three-month rearing period, individuals were tested for risk taking in a novel environment and time to consume a novel prey item. Afterward, brains were extracted and weighed. Here, I demonstrate that rearing fish under more complex and variable environmental conditions encourages brain development and influences behavioural performance in novel situations.
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10214/24728
Date: 2021-04
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