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The large variation in brain size that exists in the animal kingdom has been suggested to have evolved through the balance between selective advantages of greater cognitive ability and the prohibitively high energy demands of a larger brain (the "expensive-tissue hypothesis"). Despite over a century of research on the evolution of brain size, empirical(More)
Animal personalities range from individuals that are shy, cautious, and easily stressed (a "reactive" personality type) to individuals that are bold, innovative, and quick to learn novel tasks, but also prone to routine formation (a "proactive" personality type). Although personality differences should have important consequences for fitness, their(More)
unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Brain size varies dramatically among vertebrates, and selection for increased cognitive abilities is thought to be the key force underlying the evolution of a large brain. Indeed, numerous comparative studies suggest positive relationships between(More)
The presence of fat stores in fish is widely used as a correlate of fish health and fitness. Techniques to measure fat content with some accuracy are available for medium-sized and large fish, but apart from morphometric indices, a noninvasive method to determine fat content in small fish has hitherto been lacking. In this study, we introduce a novel method(More)
Vertebrate brain size is thought to evolve through a balance between positive selection on cognitive abilities and evolutionary costs (Striedter 2005). In a recent study we tested this hypothesis experimentally by investigating the costs and benefits of evolving a larger brain (Kotrschal et al. 2013). We selectively bred guppies, Poecilia reticulata, for(More)
Selection pressures that act differently on males and females produce numerous differences between the sexes in morphology and behaviour. However, apart from the controversial report that males have slightly heavier brains than females in humans, evidence for substantial sexual dimorphism in brain size is scarce. This apparent sexual uniformity is(More)
Brain size is an energetically costly trait to develop and maintain. Investments into other costly aspects of an organism's biology may therefore place important constraints on brain size evolution. Sexual traits are often costly and could therefore be traded off against neural investment. However, brain size may itself be under sexual selection through(More)
Telomeres are DNA-protein complexes at the ends of chromosomes that control genomic integrity but appear to become shorter with age and stress. To test whether stress causes telomere attrition, we exposed the offspring of wild-caught house mice (Mus musculus) to stressful conditions and examined the changes in telomere length over six months. We found that(More)
The vertebrate brain is a remarkably plastic organ, which responds quickly to environmental changes. However, to date, studies investigating plasticity in brain morphology have focused mostly on the physical properties of the surrounding environment, and little is known about brain plasticity in response to the social environment. Moreover, sex differences(More)