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Fish Have Unique Personality But Lose Them When They Go To 'School'

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New research on personality traits of fish has revealed that they have a unique personality, but individual personality gets suppressed when they join schools or operate in groups.

According to Christos Ioannou and his colleagues from the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Bristol in the UK, they conducted research on three-spined sticklebacks fish and observed multiple behaviors.

The findings, published in Science Advances, described the trials on the smallest freshwater fish in the UK, individually and in groups of 10.

Noting the synergy with human beings, the study said braver individuals are leading the groups and members show maximum conformity to the interest of the group, with some even restraining their individual aggressive behavior.

The researchers said they obtained varied results when the Gasterosteus aculeatus fish were tested to do risky tasks on their own and later at shoals.

Indicating boldness in the group as contextual, the study said bolder individuals were seen abiding by consensus than showing off individual exertions.

"The behavior of the fish seems to be 'plastic' to the social situation," Ioannou said and pointed to the immense individual differences when they have tested alone and a different behavior while in groups.

Rising Carbon Dioxide Posing Threat

Meanwhile, a new study highlighted the risk posed by rising levels of carbon dioxide on the brain chemistry of fish, behavioral disorders stemming from it and how it makes them vulnerable to predators.

The study was done by researchers at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, and in conjunction with James Cook University's ARC Center of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies.

"By specifically understanding how brain and blood chemistry are linked to behavioral disruptions during CO2 exposure, we can better understand not only 'what' may happen during future ocean acidification scenarios, but 'why' it happens," said Rachael Heuer, the lead author.

They studied the behavioral changes and brain chemistry of the Spiny damselfish usually found on coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean.

The scientists used spiny damselfish from Australia's Great Barrier Reef as their specimen. They put them into two groups. One group was exposed to controlled carbon dioxide conditions while the other were given higher carbon dioxide levels. The behavioral test was later administered to measure the changes in brain and blood chemistry.

The fish groups had to make a choice between controlled seawater and water with a smell that triggers them to get away from it. The spiny damselfish exposed to elevated carbon dioxide was spending more time near the water that reeks of chemical alarm associated to fish injury.

Detailed brain and blood chemistry assessments later reinforced that elevated CO2 was responsible for the odd behavior.

Heuer surmised that coral reef fish will face huge predation risks and other negative impacts if they if they fail to acclimatize to the acidifying of oceans.

Tech Times has reported about the strategic linkages between coral reefs and the ecosystem of fish.

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