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Alarm cues and alarmed conspecifics: Neural activity during social learning from different cues in Trinidadian guppies

Citation

Fan, Raina; Reader, Simon; Sakata, Jon (2022), Alarm cues and alarmed conspecifics: Neural activity during social learning from different cues in Trinidadian guppies, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.n02v6wwxm

Abstract

Learning to respond appropriately to novel dangers is often essential to survival and success, but carries risks. Learning about novel threats from others (social learning) can reduce these risks. Many species, including the Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata), respond defensively to both conspecific chemical alarm cues and conspecifix anti-predator behaviours, and in other fish such social information can lead to a learned aversion to novel threats. However, relatively little is known about the neural substrates underlying social learning and the degree to which different forms of learning share similar neural mechanisms. Here, we explored the neural substrates mediating social learning of novel threats from two different conspecific cues (i.e. social cue-based threat learning). We first demonstrated that guppies rapidly learn about threats paired with either alarm cues or with conspecific threat responses (demonstration). Then, focusing on acquisition rather than recall, we discovered that phospho-S6 expression, a marker of neural activity, was elevated in guppies during learning from alarm cues in the putative homologue of the mammalian lateral septum and the preoptic area. Surprisingly, these changes in neural activity were not observed in fish learning from conspecific demonstration. Together, these results implicate forebrain areas in social learning about threat but raise the possibility that circuits contribute to such learning in a stimulus-specific manner.

Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: 05016-2016

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: 2017-04720

Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, Award: PR-284884

Canada Foundation for Innovation, Award: 29433

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: Master's Canadian Graduate Scholarship (CGS-M)

Fonds de recherche du Québec – Nature et technologies, Award: Bourse de maîtrise (B1X)

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: CREATE Biodiversity, Ecology and Ecosystem Services Fellowship