Programme (Abstracts)

THURSDAY, 12th April
Opening 08.30
Introduction: Organizing Committee
SPE 2012
control of
behaviour I

PLENARY: Eduardo Nuno Barata
Pheromones and modulation of social behaviour in fishes: origin, mechanisms and functions
10.20 Tina Keller
Dominance pheromone(s) in Mozambique Tilapia males
10.40 João Saraiva
Narcissus on fins: searching for dominance pheromones in Tilapia
  11.00 COFFEE
control of
behaviour II
11.20 Olinda Almeida
Effects of castration on reproductive behaviour in males of the Cichlid fish Oreochromis mossambicus
11.40 Gonçalo Oliveira
Threat appraisal mediates the effect of opponent familiarity on testosterone response
12.00 Silvia Costa
Endocrine control of female sexual behavior in the Peacock Blenny, Salaria pavo
  12.20 LUNCH
Messages of
14.00 PLENARY: Juan Carlos Senar
Messages of colour: the evolution of plumage coloration as a multiple ornament
14.50 Ana Leitão
The role of UV in female mate choice of European Serin
15.10 Sandra Trigo
Are carotenoids really that important?
  15.30 COFFEE
cognition and social modulation
15.50 PLENARY: Leonel Garcia-Marques
Models of associative learning in humans, animals and machines
16.40 Ligia Monteiro
Social characteristics of low social engagement preschool children
17.00 Inês Peceguina
Explorations of a model of social competence for preschool children: testing the moderating effects of age, sex, and culture
17 20 João Daniel
Preschool affiliative networks and social withdrawal in preschool children
17.40 Joana Bessa
Auditory contagious yawning in domestic dogs (Canis familiaris): first evidence for social modulation
  18.00 POSTERS & WINE + SPE meeting
FRIDAY, 13th April
Brain and
09.00 PLENARY: Susana Lima
Mate choice in mice
09.50 Catarina Bacelar
Brain areas involved in the navigational process: the role of odors
10.10 Rui Oliveira
Rapid changes in brain transcriptome in response to social interactions in Zebrafish: the role of cognitive appraisal
Stress and
10.30 Leonor Galhardo
Psychological stress in fish and implications for welfare
10.50 Marta Soares
Tactile stimulation lowers stress in fish
  11.10 COFFEE
Habitat choice 11.30 Sara Magalhães
Do plants delude their bodyguards? Behaviour of Phytoseiulus persimilis towards odours from plants with or without prey or competitors
11.50 Joana Martins
Should I stay or should I go? Individual preferences of Lipophrys pholis adult males for specific shelters
12.10 Ana Gonçalves
Homing in rocky intertidal fish. Lipophrys pholis L., as a biological model to study navigation
  12.30 LUNCH
Behaviour and
14.00 PLENARY: Étienne Danchin
Non-genetic inheritance of behaviour
variation and
14.50 Paulo Fonseca
Sound production in closely related Okanagana cicadas: O. canadensis, O. rimosa and O. bella
  15.10 Clara Amorim
The role of agonistic sounds in territorial defence in a small Goby
  15.30 Daniel Alves
Detection of complex conspecific sounds in the Lusitanian toadfish (Halobatrachus didactylus)
  15.50 Ana Mamede
The pattern of inter-annual song variation in the Serin (Serinus serinus) is limited
  16.10 COFFEE
behaviour of
16.30 Octavio Mateus
Deducting behaviour of dinosaurs: reproduction
16.45 Christophe Hendrickx
Deducting behaviour of dinosaurs: Spinosaur theropod feeding
16.55 Emanuel Tschopp
Deducting behaviour of dinosaurs: Sauropods migration, herding, and feeding
17.05 Questions
Closing 19.00 AWARDS: Organizing and Scientific Committees
Award for the best oral presentation from a student (Springer-Verlag); Award for the best poster from a student (CBA)
  19.10 Closing: Rui Oliveira & Juan Carlos Senar
SPE & Acta Ethologica

Invited speakers

Eduardo Nuno Barata
(Centro de Ciências do Mar do Algarve e Universidade de Évora)

Eduardo Nuno Barata is Assistant Professor at the Biology Department of the University of Évora and researcher in the comparative molecular and endocrinology group at the Centre of Marine Sciences of Algarve. ‘How, for what and why do animals smell what they do’ has been the framework guiding his research published in various international scientific journals. Within such framework, his attention has been devoted to chemical communication in fishes and the role of pheromones in the modulation of their social behaviour.

Talk: “Pheromones and modulation of social behaviour in fishes: origin, mechanisms and functions”

Animals release pheromones conveying chemical information about a sender’s identity (e.g. species, sex) and physiology (e.g. reproductive condition). In fish, it is commonly accepted that sex hormones and its metabolites excreted to the water are involved in synchronizing the reproductive behaviour and physiology within a species (hormonal pheromones). Even so, fish may use pheromones beyond such traditional paradigm. In this talk I discuss that the chemical nature of fish pheromones may extend beyond the hormonal pheromones, and that fish have ways to release pheromones when and where appropriate in contexts beyond the chemical communication between sexes.

Étienne Danchin
(Laboratory "Évolution et Diversité Biologique", CNRS, University "Paul Sabatier", Toulouse, França)

Dr. Étienne Danchin is head of research at the CNRS (the French National Centre for Scientific Research). He works in Behavioural Ecology and has dedicated almost twenty years of his career to the study of group living, namely to the study of the evolution of coloniality in birds. From his experience with colonial birds, he found out that animals interact and communicate between each other not only through intentional signalling, but also through the observation of several other types of social cues (inadvertent social information) about their conspecifics’ reproductive success, which affect the habitat and sexual selection decisions of the observing individuals. It was through this finding that Étienne Danchin became increasingly interested in the subject of animal decision-making through the process of information sharing and animal cultural evolution and on how such a non-genetic transmission/inheritance of behavioural traditions across generations may ultimately influence the evolution of species. Étienne Danchin has published many papers on both the subjects of coloniality and animal cultural evolution and is the co-editor and co-author of the reference book in Behavioural Ecology: Danchin É, Giraldeau L-A & Cézilly F. 2008. Behavioural Ecology. Oxford University Press. Oxford, New York.

Talk: “Non-genetic inheritance of behaviour”

Many Biologists call for an ‘extended evolutionary synthesis’ that would ‘modernize the modern synthesis’ of evolution. Many of these claims are based on recent findings related to non-genetic inheritance. Biological information is typically considered as being transmitted across generations by the DNA sequence (i.e. genes) alone. However, there is accruing evidence that interactions between genetic and non-genetic inheritance can deeply affect evolutionary outcomes. Epigenetic, parental, ecological and cultural informations are examples of non-genetic mechanisms of inheritance that affect the behaviour of animals across generations, with momentous effects on phenotypic evolution, mostly through development. I will formalise the quantitative dynamics of non-genetic inheritance in order to propose methods that quantify the relative contributions of genetic and non-genetic inheritance on phenotypic resemblance among individuals. I will highlight the role of behaviour on evolution, as it is at the origin of a new inheritance system. It is only by adopting an inclusive view of inheritance, that would explore the multiple– genetic and non-genetic – dimensions of the evolutionary processes, that we will be able to accelerate and achieve the long sought construction of an extended theory of evolution.

Juan Carlos Senar  
(Evolutionary and Behavioural Ecology Research Unit, Natural History Museum of Barcelona)

Dr. Juan Carlos Senar is head of research at the Natural History Museum of Barcelona and Secretary of the Spanish Ethological Society. He has been working on the evolution of plumage coloration for the last twenty years, mainly focusing on the functional meaning of different colorations and on the evolution of multiple signals.

Talk: Messages of colour: the evolution of plumage coloration as a multiple ornament

Most plumage coloration results either from structural feather properties (e.g. white, blue or UV) or from pigment molecules, mainly carotenoids and melanins, embedded in the feathers (e.g. red, yellow or black). A current debate on the evolution of mate choice through plumage coloration centres on whether different shades of colour convey different kinds of information. In this talk I analyse the different meanings of carotenoids and melanins, in species simultaneously displaying both kinds of colours. Results show that carotenoid coloration is mainly related to the ability of the individual to find out resources meanwhile melanin-based coloration is related to general aggressivity and hence to dominance and territory and nest defence in front of competitors and predators.

Leonel Garcia-Marques
(Centro de Investigação em Psicologia, Faculdade de Psicologia da Universidade de Lisboa)

Leonel Garcia-Marques is Full Professor at the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Lisbon. His research interests cover several areas in the domains of Social Cognition (for instance person memory, stereotypes, and spontaneous trait inferences), Memory, and Judgments and Decision Making under Uncertainty. He has published in the top journals of the Social Psychology field (such as the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Social Cognition), and he was recently the editor-in-chief of one of these journals (European Journal of Social Psychology). He regularly collaborates in projects funded by the Portuguese FCT, often as principal investigator, and he is the steering committee member for Portugal at the European Social Cognition Network, funded by European Science Foundation.

Talk: "Bayesians for the wrong reasons: Hypothesis-testing, contingency perception and associative learning models in humans, animals and machines"

An important part of the research in psychology on how humans learn and form knowledge focused on understanding how they test hypotheses. According to the literature on hypothesis-testing, the individual is either seen as someone with bounded rationality who, using precarious testing procedures, invariably ends up confirming any hypothesis under test (Snyder, 1981), or is seen as someone who adjusts his/her degree of belief in a certain proposition by seeking and relying on crucial observations (i.e., as an intuitive Bayesian; e.g., Trope & Liberman, 1996). However, this literature has ignored the close conceptual relationship between hypothesis-testing and associative learning or contingency perception for a long time. Importing what we already know about contingency perception and associative learning in animals, humans, and machines allows us reinterpreting the results obtained in the hypothesis-testing literature (e..g., Garcia-Marques et al., 2001) as well as predicting effects unknown to the present date.

Susana Lima
(Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme, Champalimaud Foundation)

Susana Lima is Principal Investigator at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme from the Champalimaud Foundation, Portugal. She has a diverse background in neuroscience, from Drosophila genetics to auditory system in rats. In the last 3 years she has started an independent research path focusing on female sexual behaviour with a particular focus on the study of mate choice.

Talk: Mate choice in mice”

Along with finding food and avoiding predators, selecting sexual partners is one of the primary functions of the central nervous system. Choices serve a variety of functions, from avoiding familial inbreeding to avoiding inter-species mating, all of which generally serve the goal of maximizing the fitness of the resulting offspring and thereby providing the best investment of ones genes.

Our goal is to understand the neural mechanisms underlying this fascinating behavior. Much is known at the behavioral and neural level about what kind of features are used for choosing. But much less is known about how the criteria for mating are represented in the brain, how the decision-making process works, how it is influenced by internal state, and other key factors. In order to study those processes it would be ideal to reproduce mate choice in the laboratory under controlled, repeatable conditions. This would allow experiments with electrophysiological recordings and genetic manipulations, for example. 

In this lecture I will introduce a new behavioral paradigm we have developed to study mate choice in the house mouse, in laboratory conditions, taking advantage of inbred strains of mice. I will also present some of our first insights into the rules governing this fascinating decision process.

Best student presentation award winners
Instructions for authors: posters and oral presentations
Click here
António J. Santos
Clara Amorim
David Gonçalves
Filipa Vala
Joana Jordão
Leonor Galhardo
Luis Vicente
Marta Moita
Paulo Fonseca
  Paulo Gama Mota
Rita Covas
Rita Ponce
Rodrigo de Sá-Saraiva
Rui Oliveira
Sara Hagá
Sara Magalhães
Susana Varela
Vítor Almada
Joana Jordão, CBA, FCUL
Rita Covas, CiBio, UP
Rita Ponce, CBA, FCUL
Sara Hagá, FP-UL
Susana Varela, CBA, FCUL


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