Project properties

Title Linking Social Competence & Cognition in a Cooperatively Breeding Fish
Group Behavioural Ecology
Project type thesis
Credits 24-36
Supervisor(s) Elizabeth Phillips, Alexander Kotrschal
Examiner(s) Elizabeth Phillips, Alexander Kotrschal
Contact info
Begin date 2022/08/01
End date 2023/08/01
Description Social competence is the ability to accurately perceive and respond appropriately to social situations. In the cooperatively breeding cichlid (Neolamprologus pulcher), research has shown that early-life rearing conditions can impact social competence later in life, though it remains unclear what mechanisms induce these changes. We predict that cognition may facilitate these changes in social competence, as cognition is crucial to the perception and recollection of information that then dictates how individuals behaviorally respond to their environment.
For this project, you will examine the link between social competence and cognition in cichlids. Over the last few months, we have reared cichlids in differing social conditions to create groups of high and low social competence individuals. Using these fish, you can design and conduct experiments to determine if there are cognitive and behavioral differences between the two groups. This is a lab-based project to be conducted at Carus animal facilities staring in fall 2022. If you are interested, please contact Elizabeth Phillips ( for more details.
Used skills