Effects of nutrient intake on the expression of genetic variation in behavioural syndromes
Funded by the European Union (International Incoming Marie Curie Fellow, Postdoc Chang Seok Han, Advisor: N.J. Dingemanse
The expression of genetic variation in behavioural syndromes (among-individual correlations between behaviours) has been predicted to vary as a function of environmental conditions, resulting in environment-dependent genetic correlation structure. This study will test whether the acquisition of resources is an important determinant in shaping the expression of genetic correlations in behaviours, using southern field crickets Gryllus bimaculatus as a model. By manipulating diet (carbohydrate-high vs. protein-high) in a quantitative genetics design and measuring multiple behaviours repeatedly, this study will test the role of diet (the environment factor) in shaping genetically underpinned behavioural syndromes in crickets. If the expression of genetic correlations is indeed diet-dependent, it implies that behavioural syndromes are evolutionarily ‘labile’. The proposed work thereby represents the first experimental test of the hypothesis that the genetic structure of behaviour imposes constraints on the evolution of behavioural traits.