Abstracts (first author)
Phenotypic plasticity of social behavioural response in a spatial cognitive tasks
Phenotypic plasticity enables animals to cope with environmental variations. According to the conditions, animals can use different kind of informations which enable them to adapt their behaviour to the environmental conditions. First, they can use informations from their environment like visuals cues. Second, they can use social informations by observing others individuals’ behaviours or interacting with them. Differential use of personal versus social informations may depend on their relative costs in differents conditions. Here we focused on this phenotypic plasticity of the use of information. Using Drosophila melanogaster as biological model, we took an interest in the effects of some genetics and social environment variations on the plasticity of informations use during spatial learning task. Based on the existence of natural genetic polymorphism at the foraging gene (known to affect some behaviours), our experiments consisted in analysing variations in the use of informations depending on the genetic nature of one individual or a group and the interaction between each other. In order to manipulate visuals and social cues, we used a device similar to the Morris Water Maze. In this device, Drosophila could use wall visual pattern cues or observation of other individuals’ behaviours to find and memorize the location of a cold spot to escape from the hot ground of the arena. The results revealed that genetic variation at the foraging locus is related to variation in the use of social information during spatial learning. While both allelic variants were able to use the different kind of informations during the training trials, a probe trial showed that individuals carrying Sitter allele use more social informations than those carrying Rover allele. These results suggest that rover and sitter individuals don’t cope with their environment in the same way but they can switch from one kind of information to another according to the environmental variations.