Generational and environmental factors in animal behaviour
Individual behaviour is present even in isogenic animal populations in a controlled environment. In the case of the free-living, harmless nematodes Caenorhabditis elegans, the behaviour of the adults appears to depend on the age of their mother. For instance, those born to young mothers explore less and dwell more in the same spot. The EU-funded BICE project will describe how the physiology of one generation determines the behaviour of the next and specify additional environmental factors that imprint on C. elegans during development and thus modulate behaviour later in life. The project will combine innovative genetic and pharmacological tools with state-of-the animal tracking and quantitative behavioural data analysis to examine behavioural variation.