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Browsing by Subject "reproductive behavior"

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  • Isotalo, Teija (2020)
    Anthropogenic activity has enhanced global warming at alarming rates, causing temperatures to increase and heat waves to occur more frequently. The effects of global warming are prominent in aquatic ecosystems, particularly in the Baltic Sea. Temperature increases and fluctuations in the Baltic Sea create a changing environment and this can affect inhabiting species’ behaviors, specifically behaviors during reproduction. Reproductive behavior influences both the number and quality of offspring born into a population therefore making behavior changes during reproduction important to study. The three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), an ectothermic animal, inhabits the Baltic Sea and is an ideal species to study reproductive behavioral changes. Although previous studies have researched three-spined sticklebacks in changing environments, none had specifically looked into the effects of rising temperatures and temperature fluctuations on male three-spined stickleback reproductive behavior. The three-spined stickleback is of particular interest because it reproduces in shallow waters which tend to be more affected by temperature changes. In this study, I aimed to investigate behavioral responses of stickleback males to higher temperatures and to temperature fluctuations during reproduction, as well as the consequences the responses have for reproductive success and the viability of offspring. In order to see how this species would cope with rising temperatures and heat waves during reproduction, a comparative climate chamber experiment was executed in Southern Finland at Tvärminne Zoological Station. Males were housed in either 19°C or 14°C for two breeding cycles, and for the second breeding cycle eight males switched temperatures to experience a temperature fluctuation. Results show that during reproduction, three-spined sticklebacks respond to higher temperatures with increased courtship activity, increased parental activity, quicker breeding cycles, and more weight lost. Parental care activity in constant high temperature decreases from the first to the second breeding cycle, while parental activity in constant low temperature increases. During temperature fluctuations, males experiencing a rise in temperature increase their parental care activity, while males experiencing a drop in temperature demonstrate the opposite. However, no significant consequences of temperature and temperature changes for reproductive success and the viability of offspring were detected during the two breeding cycles. Overall, the results of this study would indicate that the three-spined stickleback will prove to be a resilient species, and maintain population growth in the face of increased temperatures and temperature fluctuations in the Baltic Sea.