The Effects of Sociality on Damselfish Information Transfer

Chen, Zhesi [Browse]
Senior thesis


Rubenstein, Dan [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology [Browse]
Class year
Restrictions note
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note
Sociality in damselfish colonies has been previously studied; however no experiments have been conducted on how damselfish sociality affects their behavior against intruders. I studied one colony of 8 damselfish in a section of Whalebone Bay, Bermuda to determine what effects sociality had on the information transfer between individuals when an intruder was artificially introduced to the colony. In this colony, dominance and degree, and dominance and PageRank were significantly correlated even after adjusting for body size. There was a significant difference in the action sequence escalation of individuals when all members of the colony were present and when one was removed, as well as a significant difference in the recruitment of neighbors to fight against the intruder. Although there was no significant correlation between social network metrics and latency of attack and attack rate, there were significant correlations with recruitment number. Results indicate that damselfish are aware of their social environment and use that information to modulate their aggressive behavior toward intruders. Any disruption in bordering territories results in immediate action from neighbors, regardless of the value of the property.

Supplementary Information