Author Interview: Aggressiveness-related behavioural types in the pearly razorfish

PeerJ spoke to Martina Martorell Barceló about her recently published article “Aggressiveness-related behavioural types in the pearly razorfish”Martina is a PhD Student at IMEDEA.

Can you tell us a little about yourself and your area of research?

I am a PhD student at IMEDEA, a researcher center in Mallorca. I was born here, in Mallorca, and my life has always been linked to the sea. Since I was little, I always wanted to work in an aspect related to the sea. My research focuses on the ecology of fish, especially how behavior can affect their ecology and evolution

What was the main question you investigated?

My thesis is focused on fish chronotypes and their consequences. Chronotypes are consistent differences between individuals in behaviors related to circadian rhythms. In my thesis, I will evaluate the role of the marine fish chronotypes in the ecosystemic dynamic. I will investigate the existence and ubiquitously of the chronotypes in marine fish and their relation to reproduction, personality, and how the natural (environment variables) or anthropic (fishing) disturbances affect chronotypes.

Can you briefly explain the research in your latest PeerJ publication “Aggressiveness-related behavioural types in the pearly razorfish

In this work, we analyzed the aggressiveness of the pearly razorfish through a mirror test. We found significant differences between individuals with high repeatability, demonstrating aggressiveness-related behavioral types on this species. This is the first evidence of the presence of personality traits in pearly razorfish.

What did you find? Was there anything surprising about your results?

We found that aggressive behaviors in pearlescent fish were independent of size, sex, internal condition, or experimental trait. Suggesting that in this case, the aggressiveness can have a genetic origin with important implications in the reproductive behaviors, and in the hierarchy system.

Who should be interested in this area of research & why?

Graphical representation of the two components (PC1 and PC2) from the principal component analysis (PCA) and the three correlated aggressiveness metrics (number of bites, rams and charges). Males are represented in green and females in orange.

I think that this work is interesting for marine ecologists interested in differences in behavior. In recent years, it has been demonstrated that behavior has important implications in many of eco-volutive processes of species. Even so, the studies of the personality traits on the marine species are still rare. We analyzed the aggressiveness of a small coastal fish for the first time, suggested them as a model to studies of personality traits in marine fish species.

What is next for your research?

Next work for my research will focus, first, on other axes of personality, such as activity or exploration. And in another way, I will following the studies focused on the consequences of chronotypes. I plan to study if chronotypes have a molecular origin, or how fishing can affect them. Besides, investigate how changes in ambient variations, such as temperature, waves, wind or clouds, can have implications in their expression.

Would you recommend PeerJ to your colleagues?

Yes, of course. My experience as a PhD student has been very pleasant, and I would not hesitate to recommend it.

You can read more PeerJ author interviews here

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