Studying the proximate causes of behaviour variation in stickleback to understand evolution
Nadia Aubin-Horth. Université Laval, Québec, QC, Canada

As behavioural biologists, we observe fascinating variation in behaviour that has an impact on several aspects of an organism’s life. “Why” these differences arise can be studied both from an evolutionary point of view and from a proximate one, by studying differences in the brain and in physiology found between individuals that diverge in behaviour such as aggressiveness, sociality, and boldness. Studying threespine sticklebacks, we quantify behavioural variation between individuals that result from plasticity and genetic variation and between populations facing contrasting selection pressures, and their underlying associated physiological regulatory pathways, in order to increase our understanding of evolution.