Behaviour 2019
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Consequences of heat on cognition in Western mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis
Olivia N Miller, Dr. Caitlin R Gabor. Texas State University - GASP Lab, San Marcos, Texas, United States

With the rise in temperature due to climate change, cognitive skills of various organisms may be affected and in turn affect survival and reproduction. We investigated the impacts of stream warming due to the rise in temperature within the common live-bearing Western Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinis. We examined water temperature effects (25°C or 31°C) on the mosquitofish cognitive performance after two-weeks and four-weeks of exposure utilizing a detour reaching experimental design. From the detour test, solving ability/speed and motivation of each individual were measured. By measuring cognition twice, we can also examine repeatability of the traits and consequences of longer-term exposure. We hypothesized the mosquitofish maintained at 31°C would take longer to complete the detour test, indicating their cognitive performance is impaired. If the results change over the two time periods, then the cognitive performance is either not repeatable or longer exposure affects performance. Our findings will provide insight not only into the success of these infamously invasive species but, to their adaptability to increasingly warming waters.