Transgenerational and Behavioral Plasticity in Sticklebacks
Dr. Alison Bell
School of Integrative Biology, Department of Animal Biology
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Animals can obtain information about their environment via their ancestors, their personal experience or from their parents. However, we know little about how animals weigh conflicting information from different sources, and the pressures that favor reliance on some sources of information over others. In the first half of this talk I will present results of a series of experiments that investigate the relative weight that juvenile stickleback fish place on personal versus paternal experience with predation risk, and present evidence that personal and paternal experience are interchangeable at the brain transcriptomic level. In the second half of the talk I will show how we are integrating brain transcriptomic and epigenomic data to understand plasticity in social behavior. Finally, I will describe future research plans using sticklebacks to understand the proximate causes of behavioral variation and its evolutionary significance.
Alison Bell is an Associate Professor at the University of Illnois Urbana Champaign, affiliated with the Institute for Genomic Biology, the Program in Ecology, Evolution and Conservation and the Program in Neuroscience. Bell completed her Bachelor's degree at the University of Chicago in History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, PhD from UC Davis in Population Biology and did posdocs at the University of Glasgow, Scotland and UC Davis. Work in the Bell lab focuses on the proximate and ultimate casues of behavioral variation within and among populations in sticklebacks and has been supported by grants from the NIH and NSF.