The impact of personality, morphotype and shore height on temperature-mediated behavioural responses in the beadlet anemone<i>Actinia equina</i>

Maskrey, Daniel K, Sneddon, Lynne U ORCID: 0000-0001-9787-3948, Arnold, Kathryn E, Wolfenden, David CC and Thomson, Jack S ORCID: 0000-0003-2822-5589
(2020) The impact of personality, morphotype and shore height on temperature-mediated behavioural responses in the beadlet anemone<i>Actinia equina</i>. JOURNAL OF ANIMAL ECOLOGY, 89 (10). pp. 2311-2324.

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Between-individual variation in behavioural phenotype, termed personality, is an important determinant of how populations cope with acute environmental fluctuation related to climate change. Personality in the beadlet sea anemone Actinia equina is linked to genetically distinct morphotypes, which are associated with different heights on the shore. In the intertidal zone, high-shore environments experience more environmental fluctuation due to longer periods of exposure, and animals adapted to live in these environments are predicted to deal more effectively with environmental perturbation than their low-shore counterparts. We collected beadlet anemones of two different morphotypes from three different shore heights. We investigated variation in two behaviours at three different temperatures and in a temporal control treatment where the temperature was not changed: startle response time, the time it took an anemone to re-extend its tentacles after a threatening stimulus, and immersion response time, the time to re-extend tentacles after simulated tidal immersion. These behaviours reflect risk-taking and allow individuals to be categorized as bold, shy or intermediate based upon response times. Both behaviours showed significant changes as the temperature increased. For immersion response, the morphotype associated with the low-shore-lengthened response times at high temperatures. For startle response, all animals lengthened their response times at high temperatures but animals collected from the low-shore lengthened theirs to the greatest degree. At the individual level, although control individuals exhibited temporal changes in their response times, a clear effect of temperature was present in both behaviours. Shy and bold individuals became more intermediate at higher temperatures in immersion response (this effect was present to a lesser degree in control individuals), while intermediate individuals raised their response times at higher temperatures for startle response. Given that prolonged tentacle retraction reduces foraging opportunities and can negatively impact respiratory efficiency, our data suggest that some individuals within a single population of A. equina, particularly those associated with the lower shore, may exhibit less effective behavioural responses to temperature shifts than others. These findings demonstrate that acute temperature changes influence risk-taking, and could have profound short and long-term implications for survival in the face of climate change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: behavioural plasticity, boldness, climate change, environmental history, marine invertebrate, morphotype, personality, temperature fluctuation
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Aug 2020 09:17
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2023 07:04
DOI: 10.1111/1365-2656.13301
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