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Dive into the world of tropical fish and little worms, learn how they learn, and what influences their brain function and behavior.
Animal intelligence: Why do fish learn from others?
Many animals learn about food, mating partners or danger from each other, from fish to bees to humans. But learning from others can have downsides, such as limiting new discoveries, meaning that animals must balance learning for themselves versus learning from others. Our work examines this balance, particularly in small tropical fish, guppies. A key question we address is whether the capacity to learn from others evolves, or whether animals ‘learn to learn’ from past experience.
What does a worm believe about the world?
Michael Hendricks (Assistant Professor of Biology, Canada Research Chair in Neurobiology & Behaviour)
Animals need behavioral strategies to survive—to find food, find mates, and avoid predators. Because the world is an unpredictableplace, these strategies need to be flexible and changeable. Caenorhabditis elegans is a small fruit worm with just 300 neurons, yet it will change its strategies over minutes or hours based on experience. Surprisingly, we’ve found that experience when the worm is young can permanently change how worms approach the problem of finding food.