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The Effect of Food Web Structure on Teleost Fish Brain Size and Morphology in an Aquatic Ecosystem

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Title: The Effect of Food Web Structure on Teleost Fish Brain Size and Morphology in an Aquatic Ecosystem
Author: Edmunds, Nicholas
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: McCann, KevinLaberge, Frédéric
Abstract: Common stabilizing structures in food webs require that organisms at higher trophic positions (i.e. predators) are able to forage flexibly in diverse habitats and respond to changing resource densities. This flexible behaviour requires that organisms have the necessary cognitive abilities to acquire, process, integrate and store information about their environments to make informed behavioural decisions. By using relative brain size as a proxy for cognitive ability, this research assesses the role that cognition plays in the maintenance of food web stabilizing structures. Using 16 species of teleost fish in the Georgian Bay aquatic food web, this research evaluates the association between brain size and morphology, and pelagic-littoral habitat use, habitat coupling, and trophic position. It demonstrates that brain size and brain morphology are woven into the structure of food webs in a manner that ought to promote stability.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/9118
Date: 2015-08


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