Optimality and Courtship Behaviour in Zebrafish, Danio Rerio

Mukherjee, Narendra (2012) Optimality and Courtship Behaviour in Zebrafish, Danio Rerio. Masters thesis, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata.

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Behaviors involving repeated investments on the part of the actor and diminishing marginal returns from these investments are seen to be optimized by maximizing the rate of returns from the behavior. This idea, known as the marginal value theorem, was initially used to study foraging strategies in animals when food is available in patches in an environment. In this study, we adopt the marginal value theorem and utilize it to study courtship behavior in zebrafish Danio rerio (with males being equivalent to foraging animals and females being compared to patches of resources). Our application of the marginal value theorem to courtship in zebrafish predicted that a male spends less time courting a female if the female density in the environment is high and vice-versa. The results of our experiments support these predictions and show that courtship time in zebrafish is indeed greatly influenced by the female density in the environment. Additionally, we went on to construct a return function in the form of the probability that a female being courted mates with the male courting her as a function of the time invested by the male in courtship (equivalently, the number of times the male physically interacts with the female). This return function, in a sense, gives an idea of the sexual response of a female as the investment in courtship from the side of a male increases and can potentially prove the existence of diminishing marginal returns from repeated investments in courtship on the part of the male.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: Supervisor: Anuradha Bhat
Uncontrolled Keywords: Optimality; Courtship; Behaviour; Zebrafish; Danio Rerio; Courtship Behaviour
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine, Health and Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: IISER Kolkata Librarian
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2012 08:40
Last Modified: 27 May 2013 08:39
URI: http://eprints.iiserkol.ac.in/id/eprint/29

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