Culum Brown

Culum Brown
Macquarie University · Department of Biological Sciences

PhD University of Queensland

About

185
Publications
77,869
Reads
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7,392
Citations
Introduction
I am primarily interested in fish behavioural ecology and evolution particularly in the context of conservation biology. Broadly speaking i'm interested in comparative cognition with interests in learning and memory, cerebral lateralization and personality. I have a particular fascination for Australian native fishes. I'm Editor of "Fish Cognition and Behaviour" published in 2006 & 2011 by Wiley-Blackwell, Assistant Editor of "The Journal of Fish Biology".
Additional affiliations
June 2006 - present
Macquarie University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
June 2006 - November 2018
Macquarie University
Position
  • Professor
June 2004 - August 2005
University of Canterbury
Position
  • Lecturer

Publications

Publications (185)
Article
Knowledge of the drivers of fine-scale spatial ecology in wide-ranging marine species is vital to understand population structuring and conserve threatened species. Movements and habitat use are likely to be strongly influenced by social relationships between individuals, and social units within animal populations may be subject to distinct selecti...
Article
Learning is a process that allows animals to develop adaptive behavioural responses to novel situations within an individual's lifetime. The simplest form of learning, habituation, acts a fundamental filter mechanism, which allows animals to ignore irrelevant recurring stimuli, thereby freeing up fitness-related resources, such as time and energy,...
Article
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Despite the potential benefits gained from behavioural lateralisation, defined as the asymmetrical expression of cognitive functioning, this trait demonstrates widespread variation within and between populations. Numerous methodologies have been applied to investigate lateralisation, although whether different methodologies give consistent results...
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The plight of fishes has almost certainly got worse since Bentham (1789) coined the phrase “The question is not Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but Can they suffer?” Despite the fact that fishes are increasingly recognised as sentient animals worthy of protection under animal welfare legislation in many countries around the world, fishing prac...
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Limited information exists about the temporal residency patterns of marine predators, especially at the individual level. Temporal partitioning of resources can reduce intra-specific competition, but this has seldom been examined in predators in marine ecosystems. Here, we used 8 years of acoustic telemetry data from 27 receivers deployed in a larg...
Article
The residency and movements of a single acoustically tagged female crested horn shark (Heterodontus galeatus) were monitored in Jervis Bay, Australia. The individual was intermittently detected by receivers throughout the 8-year study period and showed preference for particular rocky reefs in terms of its residency indices and duration of residency...
Article
Examining the movement ecology of mesopredators is fundamental to developing an understanding of their biology, ecology and behaviour, as well as the communities and ecosystems they influence. The limited research on the residency and movements of benthic marine mesopredators has primarily used visual tags, which do not allow for the efficient and...
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17α-Ethynylestradiol (EE2) is a synthetic hormone that has become a widespread problem in the aquatic environments. The immunomodulatory effects of EE2 in fish have attracted much attention in recent years; however, little is known about its immunotoxicological impacts. This study was conducted to investigate the immune function of female Siamese f...
Article
17α-Ethynylestradiol (EE2) is a synthetic hormone that has become a widespread problem in the aquatic environments. The immunomodulatory effects of EE2 in fish have attracted much attention in recent years; however, little is known about its immunotoxicological impacts. This study was conducted to investigate the immune function of female Siamese f...
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With over 30,000 recognized species, fishes exhibit an extraordinary variety of morphological, behavioural, and life-history traits. The field of fish cognition has grown markedly with numerous studies on fish spatial navigation, numeracy, learning, decision-making, and even theory of mind. However, most cognitive research on fishes takes place in...
Article
Given the vulnerability of early life stages to predation, many species elicit antipredator responses to predator-associated cues (e.g. alarm cues, necromones). However, the response used may vary between predatory stimuli. Antipredator responses, while ostensibly enhancing survival, are costly, either resulting in missed opportunities (e.g. foragi...
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The advent of new technologies and statistical analyses has provided valuable insights into chondrichthyan social behavior. It has become apparent that sharks and rays lead more complex social lives than previously believed. Heterarchy combines hierarchy and social network theory and although it is not a new concept, it is rarely applied to animal...
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Reef manta rays (Mobula alfredi) are social elasmobranchs that have structured societies and actively interact with preferred social partners. Being able to detect cues and signals produced by conspecifics is vital in enabling social behavior. Many elasmobranch species communicate via body and fin postures, but it is not yet known if or how mobulid...
Article
Humans interact with fishes in many contexts including aquaculture, scientific study and companion animals. In all of these contexts, fish welfare can be compromised through anthropogenic means. Concern for fish welfare has grown considerably in recent years, with many states and territories now protecting fish through animal welfare regulations. W...
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Young animals, especially those developing within eggs, are extremely vulnerable to predation risk given their immobility, small size and limited functionality of developing sensory systems. Embryos from a range of taxa can detect predator cues and use antipredator responses to reduce risk; however, little is known about this capacity in elasmobran...
Article
Tourism-related feeding of wildlife can result in detrimental, human-induced changes to the spatial distribution, social behaviour and health of target species. The feeding of sharks as part of shark-viewing activities has become increasingly popular in recent years to ensure reliable and consistent encounters. A common limitation in determining ho...
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Movement ecology has traditionally focused on the movements of animals over large time scales, but, with advancements in sensor technology, the focus can become increasingly fine scale. Accelerometers are commonly applied to quantify animal behaviours and can elucidate fine-scale (<2 s) behaviours. Machine learning methods are commonly applied to a...
Book
Full-text available
Fish welfare in aquaculture – problems and approaches to solutions. Free download: http://www.ign-nutztierhaltung.ch/sites/default/files/Bilder/IGN_FOKUS20_Broschuere_Fischwohl_100Seiter_web.pdf (The English edition will be available in late spring 2021.)
Article
Many species with broad distributions are exposed to different thermal regimes which often select for varied phenotypes. This intraspecific variation is often overlooked but may be critical in dictating the vulnerability of different populations to environmental change. We reared Port Jackson shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) eggs from two therma...
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In “The Great Fish Pain Debate” (Issues, Summer 2010), Troy Vettese, Becca Franks, and Jennifer Jacquet rightly state that in Germany the assumption that fish feel pain resulted in court cases and fishing-related legislation from the 1980s onward. The initial focus was on fishing competitions, which were ruled as unjustifiable because their primary...
Article
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The development of adaptive responses to novel situations via learning has been demonstrated in a wide variety of animal taxa. However, knowledge on the learning abilities of one of the oldest extant vertebrate groups, Chondrichthyes, remains limited. With the increasing interest in global wildlife tourism and shark feeding operations, it is import...
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Behavioural lateralization, the asymmetric expression of cognitive functions, is reported to enhance key fitness-relevant traits such as group coordination, multitasking and predator escape. Therefore, studies reporting negative effects on lateralization in fish due to environmental stressors such as ocean acidification, hypoxia and pollutants are...
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Article
Resource partitioning facilitates the coexistence of sympatric species through spatial, temporal, and/or trophic strategies. Fishes living in the intertidal zone demonstrate highly adaptive plastic behaviour, including resource partitioning, through spatial and temporal shifts in diet and micro‐habitat. Although intertidal fish assemblages are infl...
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Spatial learning is an important cognitive function found across a multitude of species. Natural selection can enhance specific cognitive abilities depending on species ecology but, under certain conditions, spatial learning is also known to vary between sexes according to reproductive status. Despite abundant studies on spatial learning across ani...
Chapter
Fish models are increasingly used in a wide variety of experimental contexts and their adoption is growing globally. This chapter reviews the evidence for sentience and cognitive abilities in fishes to highlight the growing empirical evidence of the mental capacities of fish. The definition of sentience is presented along with the scientific data p...
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Globally, freshwater fishes are declining at an alarming rate. Despite much evidence of catastrophic declines, few Australian species are listed as threatened under national legislation. We aim to help redress this by identifying the Australian freshwater fishes that are in the most immediate risk of extinction. For 22 freshwater fishes (identified...
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Scientists have built a significant body of research that shows that fishes display all the features commonly associated with intelligence in mammals, and that they experience stress, fear and pain. These findings have significant ramifications for animal welfare legislation, an area from which fishes have been traditionally excluded. Our most detr...
Article
In a range of fish species, offspring sustainability is much dependent to their mother's investment into the egg yolk. A healthy environment helps broodfish to produce normal quality offspring. However, deviation from optimal conditions can disturb body functions that effect the next generation. Here, zebrafish (Danio rerio) was employed to investi...
Article
Social learning can be a shortcut for acquiring locally adaptive information. Animals that live in social groups have better access to social information, but gregarious and nonsocial species are also frequently exposed to social cues. Thus, social learning might simply reflect an animal's general ability to learn rather than an adaptation to socia...
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Siamese fighting fish (Betta splendens) has been extensively exploited in the behavioral and physiological toxicology studies of drugs. Tacrolimus is an immunosuppressant drug largely used in liver and renal transplantations. Here we found that a 7-day exposure of male B. splendens to concentrations of 0.05 and 0.1 µg/mL Prograf® (tacrolimus) cause...
Data
Raw data and Summary sheet for the publication: "Friend or foe? Development of odour detection, differentiation, and anti-predator response in an embryonic elasmobranch, Heterodontus portusjacksoni"
Article
Full-text available
Technologies for remotely observing animal movements have advanced rapidly in the past decade. In recent years, Australia has invested in an Integrated Marine Ocean Tracking (IMOS) system, a land ecosystem observatory (TERN), and an Australian Acoustic Observatory (A2O), but has not established movement tracking systems for individual terrestrial a...
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Understanding how individual behavior shapes the structure and ecology of populations is key to species conservation and management. Like many elasmobranchs, manta rays are highly mobile and wide-ranging species threatened by anthropogenic impacts. In shallow water environments, these pelagic rays often form groups and perform several apparently so...
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Abstract Distinguishing the factors that influence activity within a species advances understanding of their behavior and ecology. Continuous observation in the marine environment is not feasible but biotelemetry devices provide an opportunity for detailed analysis of movements and activity patterns. This study investigated the detail that calibrat...
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Ocean warming can induce physiological and behavioural effects in marine predators that can cascade through ecosystems. A lack of understanding of the effects of elevated temperature on shark behaviour remains an impediment to forecasting ecosystem-wide impacts. Port Jackson shark eggs were incubated and reared at current and projected end-of-centu...
Article
This study investigated whether captive‐reared juvenile Port Jackson sharks Heterodontus portusjacksoni choose to aggregate and if familiarity is one of the mechanisms driving social preference. In a controlled binary‐choice experiment, juvenile sharks were given the option to associate or not with unfamiliar conspecifics, or to associate or not wi...
Article
A large number of studies showed that fish possess numerical abilities similar to those reported in mammals and birds. However, inter-individual differences in numerical performance are repeatedly found with different types of stimuli and methodological approaches. A recent study on guppies, Poecilia reticulata, suggested that strongly lateralized...
Preprint
The PREPRINT is publicly available here: https://doi.org/10.32942/osf.io/6kcwa ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ABSTRACT: Behavioural lateralisation, defined as the asymmetric expression of cognitive functions, is reported to enhance...
Article
Restricted gene flow and reproductive philopatry are increasingly being described in marine predators such as sharks. However, observing shark reproductive behaviour in situ is problematic because of issues associated with sampling in the marine environment. As such, molecular tools have become fundamental to unravelling complex mating behaviours....
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Hybridisation and introgression are natural phenomena that may lead to the transfer of adaptive alleles from one species to another and increased species diversity. At the same time, hybridisation and subsequent introgression threaten many species world‐wide through the loss of genetic and species diversity. In Australia, introgressive hybridisatio...
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Behavioural plasticity is an advantageous trait for animals living in dynamic environments, and can be induced through learning. While some behavioural traits are innate, others are framed by experience and learning during an individual’s lifetime. Many studies have investigated cognitive abilities in fish species from contrasting environments, but...
Chapter
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Goldfish are members of the cyprinid family. Goldfish were originally kept in China at least 2000 years ago, where they were primarily raised as food fish. Goldfish are generalist omnivores and eat a range of food varieties, from insects to plants. All goldfish need adequate space for shoaling, keeping adequate distances between individuals, mainta...
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The majority of commentaries are supportive of our position on the scepticism that muddies the waters surrounding fish pain and sentience. There is substantial empirical evidence for pain in fish. Animals' experience of pain cannot be compared to artificial intelligence (AI) because AI can only mimic responses to nociceptive input on the basis of h...
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Establishing behavioural repeatability is important in animal personality research; however, a range of factors can influence repeatability. Experimental design, particularly acclimation time, is important in managing a subject’s stress prior to the onset of behavioural observations. Acclimatisation also ensures we capture “normal” behaviour and pr...
Chapter
Fish represent the largest radiation of vertebrates, with over 32,000 species known to date – more than all other vertebrate species combined. While fish possess many anatomical and perceptual adaptations to the aquatic environment, most experimental procedures used to study cognition in other species are readily adaptable to fish. Their small size...
Article
Food provisioning can have significant effects on marine wildlife. It is common practice for recreational anglers to discard fish waste back into waterways, yet the effects of incidental provisioning as a result of recreational fish cleaning on marine wildlife have not been assessed and are likely not being considered in fisheries management. At th...
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The marine environment is filled with biotic and abiotic sounds. Some of these sounds predict important events that influence fitness while others are unimportant. Individuals can learn specific sound cues and ‘soundscapes’ and use them for vital activities such as foraging, predator avoidance, communication and orientation. Most research with soun...
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Climate change is warming the world’s oceans at an unprecedented rate. Under predicted end-of-century temperatures, many teleosts show impaired development and altered critical behaviors, including behavioral lateralisation. Since laterality is an expression of brain functional asymmetries, changes in the strength and direction of lateralisation su...
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Recent empirical studies have reported evidence that many aquatic species, including fish, cephalopods and crustaceans, have the capacity for nociception and pain, and that their welfare should be taken into consideration. Some sceptics, rejecting the precautionary principle, have denied that any study demonstrates pain or other aspects of sentienc...
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The precautionary principal is often invoked when talking about the evidence of sentience in animals, largely because we can never be certain what any animal is thinking or feeling. Birch (2017) offers a preliminary framework for the use of the precautionary principal for animal sentience combining an epistemic rule with a decision rule. I extend t...
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Accurately estimating contacts between animals can be critical in ecological studies such as examining social structure, predator–prey interactions or transmission of information and disease. While biotelemetry has been used successfully for such studies in terrestrial systems, it is still under development in the aquatic environment. Acoustic tele...
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The Port Jackson Shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) is an epibenthic, oviparous species endemic to the southern half of Australia. Understanding the genetic structure, ecology and reproductive behaviours of this species is essential for developing appropriate management and conservation strategies. However, research has been hampered due a lack of...
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The spatial learning skills of high and low stress juvenile mulloway (Argyrosomus japonicus) were tested in a dichotomous choice apparatus. Groups of fish were formed based on background blood cortisol levels and required to learn the location of a food reward hidden in one of two compartments. Low stress fish characterised by low background levels...
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Full-text available
The spatial learning skills of high and low stress juvenile mulloway ( Argyrosomus japonicus ) were tested in a dichotomous choice apparatus. Groups of fish were formed based on background blood cortisol levels and required to learn the location of a food reward hidden in one of two compartments. Low stress fish characterised by low background leve...
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Individuals can play different roles in maintaining connectivity and social cohesion in animal populations and thereby influence population robustness to perturbations. We performed a social network analysis in a reef shark population to assess the vulnerability of the global network to node removal under different scenarios. We found that the netw...