Aborn, David; Kuhajda, Bernard; Farnsley, Sarah
College of Arts and Sciences
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
The invasive Western Mosquitofish (WMF), Gambusia affinis, has facilitated the extinction and endangerment of multiple freshwater fish species, including the Barrens Topminnow (BTM), Fundulus julisia. In my study, I investigated if BTMs are capable of socially learning conditioned predator recognition, and I hypothesized that BTMs are capable of social learning and that such learning might improve survival of BTMs. To explore the role of conditioning and subsequent learning in the conservation of BTMs, I conducted a series of experiments in which I 1) attempted to condition BTMs to exhibit antipredator behavior when faced with WMF, and 2) created a situation in which naive BTMs could potentially learn from conditioned individuals. I found no evidence of conditioning or of social learning, and there were no significant differences in behavior, body condition, or survival among my treatment groups.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along with my thesis, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Conservation Fisheries Inc., the Tennessee Aquarium Conservation Institute, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and my committee for all the help given to me. I would like to give special thanks to my friends and family for supporting me.
M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.
Barrens topminnow; Western mosquitofish
vii, 55 leaves
Reyes, Elijah, "Social learning and its effect on conservation efforts in the Barrens Topminnow: an evaluation of conditioning and social learning as a viable longterm solution to evolutionary traps" (2017). Masters Theses and Doctoral Dissertations.