Spatial learning and memory retention in intertidal gobies
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 11:43 authored by Penelope Carbia
It is well understood that an individual’s learning capabilities and memory retention are strongly influenced by their environment. In a stable environment with little physical change, a longer memory span would be favoured. In contrast, a shorter memory span would be better suited in a constantly changing environment. The physical characteristics of an environment are also believed to mould what learning strategies an individual will use, such as learning the location of certain landmarks. This study investigates the learning and memory capabilities of four marine goby species found along the east coast of New South Wales. Two of these species are rock pool specialists while the other two occur in the flat sand areas of the intertidal zone. After a brief rest period following tagging, the gobies were introduced into a t-maze with no landmarks and trained to choose the right hand end for a food reward. Each individual was then randomly assigned to either a one month, two week or one week retrial group to test memory retention. The results suggest rock pool species learned the task faster than sand specialists, while turn choice appears to return to random within one month in all species.