Individual Personality Differences in Port Jackson sharks (<em>Heterodontus portusjacksoni</em>) — ASN Events

Individual Personality Differences in Port Jackson sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) (#876)

Evan Byrnes 1 , Culum Brown 1
  1. Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, Austalia

Over recent years research evidence of personality, or individual behavioural differences, has accumulated and has now been identified in over 100 species of non-human animals1 . Fish are widely used as model organisms for personality research due to the utility of breeding and housing them in a laboratory, as well as the ability to collect fish from numerous diverse habitats2 . Despite hundreds of studies on personality in fishes, there remains a striking lack of research on personality in elasmobranchs. Like other heritable traits, personality is subject to evolutionary selective pressures, and given their extensive evolutionary history, it is unlikely that personality has been evolutionarily stagnant in elasmobranchs3 . As top predators, elasmobranchs play crucial roles in mediating prey behaviours and food web interactions; thus understanding the influence personality has on elasmobranch behaviours, such as food preferences and spatial use, is key to managing overall ecosystem health4,5 . Utilising two commonly used boldness assays, we are testing for individual boldness differences in Port Jackson sharks (Heterodontus portusjacksoni ). We aim to report strong individual differences that are consistent through time and both contexts. Demonstrating individual boldness differences in sharks presents novel evidence for personality in an undescribed taxon and provides valuable insight into the evolution of personality in vertebrates.

  1. CARERE, C. & LOCURTO, C. 2011. Interaction between animal personality and animal cognition. Curr. Zool, 57, 491-498.
  2. BUDAEV, S. & BROWN, C. 2011. Personality traits and behaviour. Fish Cognition and Behavior. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 135-165.
  3. BROWN, C., BURGESS, F. & BRAITHWAITE, V. A. 2007. Heritable and experiential effects on boldness in a tropical poeciliid. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 62, 237-243.
  4. ESTES, J. A., TERBORGH, J., BRASHARES, J. S., POWER, M. E., BERGER, J., BOND, W. J., CARPENTER, S. R., ESSINGTON, T. E., HOLT, R. D. & JACKSON, J. B. C. 2011. Trophic downgrading of planet Earth. science, 333, 301-306.
  5. MADIN, E. M. P., GAINES, S. D. & WARNER, R. R. 2010. Field evidence for pervasive indirect effects of fishing on prey foraging behavior. Ecology, 91, 3563-3571.