Nencki Institute Seminar

Dear All

I would like to cordially invite you to the next Nencki Institute Seminar which will take place next Thursday, January 26th at 3pm in the CN lecture hall. We will host prof Redouan Bshary, head of the Behavioural ecology lab at the University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland, who will give a lecture entitled: What research on fish cognition may tell us about vertebrate brain evolution
Prof. Bshary combines multiple approaches (physiology, research on cognition, and mathematical modeling) and exciting model systems including Labroides dimidiatus which hold the premise to deliver new insights into the interplay between brain evolution and interactions between species.
Most research in animal cognition focuses on primates, other mammals and birds. As a consequence, hypotheses regarding the links between brain evolution and resulting cognitive abilities are largely based on our knowledge about these endotherm vertebrates. However, I will argue that research on cognition in fishes (or other ectotherm vertebrates) provides great opportunities to test and challenge these 'endotherm hypotheses'. As it stands, endotherms have on average 10 times larger brains (corrected for body size) than ectotherm vertebrates. Therefore, any supposedly 'higher' cognitive process that is found in an ectotherm cannot explain the evolution of the much larger endotherm brains. I will largely present data on strategic sophistication and underlying cognitive processes in cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus. These Indo-Pacific fish remove ectoparasites from other reef fish species. Their brain is of average size but their cleaning interactions are highly sophisticated. I will show that their cognitive tool kit largely matches the ones found in endotherms, though the brain seems to be organised in a rather different way. This latter point offers plenty of avenues for future research.

The seminar will be followed by a get together.
With best regards
Aleksandra Pekowska
20 January 2023
2023-01-26 15:00:00
2023-01-26 17:00:00
Nencki Institute