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Rainbow trout personality: individual behavioural variation in juvenile Oncorhynchus mykiss

Elias, Ashley, Thrower, Frank, Nichols, Krista M.
Oncorhynchus mykiss, aggression, fish, genetic traits, habituation, juveniles, life history, migratory behavior, mortality, personality, progeny
We evaluated the variation in dispersal, exploration, and aggression across time in juvenile progeny produced from wild caught rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) at a critical developmental shift associated with the highest mortality in fish. By testing multiple ecologically relevant behaviours repeatedly in the same individuals, we simultaneously tested multiple hypotheses regarding personality, plasticity, and behavioural syndromes to better understand the innate behavioural variation in a population containing both migratory and resident life histories. There were consistent behavioural differences, or personality, between individuals across time, for dispersal, aggression, and exploration, unrelated to size or sex. The significant repeatabilities (0.10–0.46) indicate that these traits are potentially heritable. Also, we found both habituation in all behaviours and significant differences between individuals in the rate of that habituation, despite no evidence of a behavioural syndrome. The identification of this individual level variation is a step towards understanding which heritable traits selection could influence.