Fishes' innate food choice could change with the environment

fish
A school of sardines in Italy. Credit: Wikimedia / Alessandro Duci

The fact that fish choose their food based on what colours they can see, as opposed to how it tastes, is an inherited trait that could have implications for the evolution in the animal kingdom, new Deakin University research has found.

Researchers from Deakin's Centre for Integrative Ecology within the School of Life and Environmental Sciences have discovered fishes' ability to find depends on what colours they see, which can be affected by such as colour variations due to pollution.

Lead researcher Dr Gemma Cole said the team discovered that while can adapt their to suit environmental colour changes, the fact this was an inherited ability could mean it took at least a generation for them to be able to catch up to the changes.

Researchers previously understood fish chose food based on colour, but until now did not know that this was an inherited trait.

The new findings are detailed in 'Artificial selection for food colour preferences', published today in online journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"How well fish can detect food seems to drive the evolution of the visual system," Dr Cole said.

"If the environment changes, due to things such as water colour changes because of pollution, changes to lighting conditions caused by deforestation or changes in the relative abundance of certain coloured foods, then the associated changes in colour may make it difficult to detect.

"Animals with visual systems that have already adapted to finding these foods would then need to evolve a new visual system to adjust to the change so they can forage efficiently."

Co-researcher Alfred Deakin Professor John Endler said many fish species which relied on the visual system for food choice also used colour to choose a mate.

"If the visual system evolves with food detection then this can have affects for other visually based behaviours, such as mate selection," Professor Endler said.

"Under environmental change, species relying on vision could become endangered not only through changed abilities to find food, but also through changed perception of potential mates.

The team's research centred on the monitoring of guppies, which Professor Endler said was an ideal model species because scientists already knew much about their ecology, behaviour and genetics. The findings can translate across to not only other , but to other animals which also use vision for both food and .


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More information: Artificial selection for food colour preferences, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, rspb.royalsocietypublishing.or … .1098/rspb.2014.3108
Provided by Deakin University
Citation: Fishes' innate food choice could change with the environment (2015, March 4) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-03-fishes-innate-food-choice-environment.html
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Mar 04, 2015
We must tax the correct colored food immediately and steer the fish to eat healthier, this is for their own good and of course the government as a whole. Healthier fish could proliferate and thus tip the scales toward faster global warming, so maybe we need to put this to committee and debate for a few centuries to be certain we do it right.

JVK
Mar 04, 2015
In African lakes, nearly 1,500 new species of cichlid fish supposedly "evolved" in a few million years and ~500 species ecologically "adapted" within the past 100,000 to 15,000 years.

Excerpt: "How well fish can detect food seems to drive the evolution of the visual system," Dr Cole said.

Exception: No matter how well they can detect food, if they can't detect the species-specific pheromones, which are the metabolites of nutrients, they will not reproduce. Reproduction is required for biodiversity.

Excerpt: "If the visual system evolves with food detection then this can have affects for other visually based behaviours, such as mate selection," Professor Endler said.

No experimental evidence of biologically-based cause and effect suggests that mate selection or food selection is based on visual input. If it doesn't "smell" right, organisms don't eat it or try to reproduce with it.

http://www.ncbi.n...24693353

JVK
Mar 04, 2015
Excerpt: "The team's research centred on the monitoring of guppies, which Professor Endler said was an ideal model species because scientists already knew much about their ecology, behaviour and genetics. The findings can translate across to not only other fish species, but to other animals which also use vision for both food and mate selection."

My comment: "The honeybee already serves as a model organism for studying human immunity, disease resistance, allergic reaction, circadian rhythms, antibiotic resistance, the development of the brain and behavior, mental health, longevity, diseases of the X chromosome, learning and memory, as well as conditioned responses to sensory stimuli (Kohl, 2012)." -- Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model. http://www.ncbi.n...3960065/

JVK
Mar 04, 2015
Biology, molecular and organismic http://icb.oxford...citation
...the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is "bird watching" or "butterfly collecting." Bird watching and butterfly collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists!


Excerpt: "The team's research centred on the monitoring of guppies...."

Fish-watching should be added to Dobzhansky's claims about the importance of understanding molecular epigenetics compared to the importance of observations.

See also: "The sense of smell, notes LSU biology professor John Caprio, originally evolved to detect water-soluble chemicals like amino acids. The ability to detect volatiles in air is an adaptation of the original mechanism." http://www.scienc...0220.htm

See also: Non-Adaptive Amino Acid Convergence Rates Decrease over Time http://mbe.oxford...abstract

Mar 04, 2015
Dobzhansky's claims about the importance of understanding molecular epigenetics compared to the importance of observations


You're a big stickler about context, so next time you quote that passage, include the full thought-

The notion has gained some currency that the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is "bird watching" or "butterfly collecting." Bird watching and butterfly
collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists! I have heard a man
whose official title happens to be Professor of Zoology declare to an assembly of his colleagues that "a good man cannot teach zoology." A good man can teach, of course, only
molecular biology. Such pronunciamentos can be dismissed as merely ridiculous.


It's extremely hypocritical of you otherwise.

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