Response to environmental change in rainbow trout selected for divergent stress coping styles

An extensive literature has documented differences in the way individual animals cope with environmental challenges and stressors. Two broad patterns of individual variability in behavioural and physiological stress responses are described as the proactive and reactive stress coping styles. In addition to variability in the stress response, contrasting coping styles may encompass a general difference […]

Serial reversal learning and the evolution of behavioral flexibility in three species of North American corvids (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus, Nucifraga columbiana, Aphelocoma californica)

In serial reversal learning, subjects learn to respond differentially to 2 stimuli. When the task is fully acquired, reward contingencies are reversed, requiring the subject to relearn the altered associations. This alternation of acquisition and reversal can be repeated many times, and the ability of a species to adapt to this regimen has been considered […]

Brain Size Predicts the Success of Mammal Species Introduced into Novel Environments

Large brains, relative to body size, can confer advantages to individuals in the form of behavioral flexibility. Such enhanced behavioral flexibility is predicted to carry fitness benefits to individuals facing novel or altered environmental conditions, a theory known as the brain size-environmental change hypothesis. Here, we provide the first empirical link between brain size and […]

Personality affects learning performance in difficult tasks in a sex-dependent way

Animals constantly need to cope with changes in their environment. Coping with changes in cues that are associated with the location and abundance of food is essential for being able to adjust behaviourally to a variable environment. The use of cues in decision making requires appropriate levels of attention and learning ability, which may be […]

Eurasian jays, Garrulus glandarius, flexibly switch caching and pilfering tactics in response to social context

Corvids such as jays and ravens cache food for future consumption and can remember the location of caches that they have seen others make. Given the risk of caches being pilfered by observers, corvids limit opportunities for conspecifics to witness caching events. Faced with cache protection tactics, pilferers should also utilize tactics to maximize their […]

Personality tests predict responses to a spatial-learning task in mallards, Anas platyrhynchos

Behaviours are the result of the interaction between genetic factors, past experiences, and labile environmental and social influences. Usually, the behavioural variability of an individual is smaller than the behavioural range of its species, but stable over time and contexts. This intraindividual consistency has been termed animal personality, and is found in a wide range […]

Determining the effects of duration and recency of exposure to environmental enrichment

Experience can help animals adapt their behaviour to fit the environment or conditions that they find themselves in. Understanding how and when experience affects behaviour is important for the animals we rear in captivity. This is particularly true when we rear animals with the intent of releasing them into the wild as part of population […]