Jennifer Kelley

Jennifer Kelley
University of Western Australia | UWA · School of Animal Biology

BSc, PhD

About

51
Publications
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Publications

Publications (51)
Article
Camouflage is a fundamental way for animals to avoid detection and recognition. While depth information is critical for object detection and recognition, little is known about how camouflage patterns might interfere with the mechanisms of depth perception. We reveal how many common camouflage strategies could exploit 3D visual processing mechanisms...
Article
A three-dimensional body shape is problematic for camouflage because overhead lighting produces a luminance gradient across the body's surface. Countershading, a form of patterning where animals are darkest on their uppermost surface, is thought to counteract this luminance gradient and enhance concealment, but the mechanisms of protection remain u...
Article
Ecological factors such as spatial habitat complexity and diet can explain variation in visual morphology, but few studies have sought to determine whether visual specialisation can occur among populations of the same species. We used a small Australian freshwater fish (the western rainbowfish, Melanotaenia australis) to determine whether populatio...
Article
The wings of butterflies and moths generate some of the most spectacular visual displays observed in nature [1-3]. Particularly striking effects are seen when light interferes with nanostructure materials in the wing scales, generating bright, directional colors that often serve as dynamic visual signals [4]. Structural coloration is not known in n...
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Full-text available
Phenotypic variation plays a critical role in determining the structural organisation and ecological function of wild populations. Animal groups are often structured according to factors such as species, sex, body size and parasite load, but it is unclear whether body shape also influences patterns of social organisation, and thus contributes to po...
Article
Clownfishes, with their showy colouration, are well known for their symbiosis with sea anemones and for their hierarchical reproductive system, but the function of their colouration is unclear. We used a phylogeny of 27 clownfish species to test whether fish colouration: (1) serves a protective function that involves their anemone hosts, or (2) sig...
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Sensory input to the central nervous system is the primary means by which animals respond to variation in their physical and biological environments. It is well established that key threats such as habitat destruction, the introduction of non-native species, and climate change are imposing significant pressures on natural ecosystems, yet surprising...
Article
Aquatic ecosystems are facing escalating threats from urbanization, habitat loss and projected impacts of climate change, which both individually and in combination have the potential to fundamentally alter ecosystem functioning. While it is well established that habitat disturbances can affect the composition and diversity of aquatic communities,...
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In fishes, alterations to the natural flow regime are associated with divergence in body shape morphology compared with individuals from unaltered habitats. However, it is unclear whether this morphological divergence is attributable to evolutionary responses to modified flows, or is a result of phenotypic plasticity. Fishes inhabiting arid regions...
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Question: Trait plasticity can act to buffer populations from human impacts, but can sensory traits be plastic? Hypothesis: Early exposure to water flows affects the development of the lateral line sensory system in fishes. Organism: Western rainbowfish (Melanotaenia australis). Methods: Juveniles of wild-caught fish were allocated to replicate fas...
Article
Fishes use their mechanoreceptive lateral line system to sense nearby objects by detecting slight fluctuations in hydrodynamic motion within their immediate environment. Species of fishes from different habitats often display specialisations of the lateral line system, in particular the distribution and abundance of neuromasts, but the lateral line...
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An animal's 3D form, combined with the directional lighting that is typical of many natural light environments, often results in the production of self-shadows, which may increase prey detectability to visual predators or vice versa. In terrestrial animals, countershading patterning, a luminance gradient from dark dorsal to pale ventral pigmentatio...
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Light detection not only forms the basis of vision (via visual retinal photoreceptors), but can also occur in other parts of the body, including many non-rod/non-cone ocular cells, the pineal complex, the deep brain, and the skin. Indeed, many of the photopigments (an opsin linked to a light-sensitive 11-cis retinal chromophore) that mediate color...
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The ability to change coloration allows animals to modify their patterning to suit a specific function. Many freshwater fishes, for example, can appear cryptic by altering the dispersion of melanin pigment in the skin to match the visual background. However, melanin-based pigments are also used to signal dominance among competing males; thus colour...
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Group living can present unique challenges that may require individuals to possess cognitive skills, such as the ability to recognise group members and maintain relationships with specific individuals. These skills may be particularly important for animals that live in large groups, because the intricacies of social life may become more complex whe...
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Environmental variation is a potent force affecting phenotypic expression. While freshwater fishes have provided a compelling example of the link between the environment and phenotypic diversity, few studies have been conducted with arid-zone fishes, particularly those that occur in geographically isolated regions where species typically inhabit in...
Article
Countershading, or dorsal pigmentary darkening (DPD), describes a form of vertically varying coloration, where an animal typically has a dark dorsal surface and a paler ventral side, and is widespread among mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and insects. DPD is thought to confer concealment from predators and, in terrestrial systems, there is good ev...
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Sperm senescence can have important evolutionary implications due to its deleterious effects on sperm quality and offspring performance. Consequently, it has been argued that polyandry (female multiple mating) may facilitate the selection of younger, and therefore competitively superior, sperm when ejaculates from multiple males compete for fertili...
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In 1909, Abbott Thayer suggested that the study of animal coloration lies in the domain of artists because it deals with optical illusions. He proposed, for example, that prey color patterns may obliterate the animal's outline to make the wearer appear invisible to its preda-tors. Despite a long history of research on the neuropsychology of visual...
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Full-text available
In 1909, Abbott Thayer suggested that the study of animal coloration lies in the domain of artists because it deals with optical illusions. He proposed, for example, that prey color patterns may obliterate the animal's outline to make the wearer appear invisible to its predators. Despite a long history of research on the neuropsychology of visual i...
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Full-text available
While behavioural plasticity is considered an adaptation to fluctuating social and environmental conditions, many animals also display a high level of individual consistency in their behaviour over time or across contexts (generally termed 'personality'). However, studies of animal personalities that include sexual behaviour, or functionally distin...
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Female choice can impose persistent directional selection on male sexually selected traits, yet such traits often exhibit high levels of phenotypic variation. One explanation for this paradox is that if sexually selected traits are costly, only the fittest males are able to acquire and allocate the resources required for their expression. Furthermo...
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The incredible diversity of colour patterns in coral reef fishes has intrigued biologists for centuries. Yet, despite the many proposed explanations for this diversity in coloration, definitive tests of the role of ecological factors in shaping the evolution of particular colour pattern traits are absent. Patterns such as spots and eyespots (spots...
Article
Individuals are at risk when communicating because conspicuous signals attract both conspecifics and eavesdropping predators. This predation cost of communicating has typically been attributed to signalling individuals because of their conspicuous role, and is a core concept within sexual selection and communication ecology. But, if predators are a...
Article
Sexual selection can operate both before and after mating. For males, selection will favor a suite of traits involved in mate acquisition (precopulatory) and in the competition among ejaculates to fertilize eggs (postcopulatory). Sperm competition theory predicts a trade-off between investment in pre- and postcopulatory traits, thus generating nega...
Article
Aquatic organisms are exposed to highly variable light environments, which can affect the efficacy of colour patterns that are used for communication or camouflage. Specifically, dissolved organic matter that is common in turbid freshwater habitats tends to absorb short wavelength light causing a shift towards environments that are rich in long wav...
Data
Details of the predator assemblages at each of the twelve guppy populations sampled. (DOC)
Data
Additional information on the analysis of social structure using Socprog. (DOC)
Article
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Predation risk is often associated with group formation in prey, but recent advances in methods for analysing the social structure of animal societies make it possible to quantify the effects of risk on the complex dynamics of spatial and temporal organisation. In this paper we use social network analysis to investigate the impact of variation in p...
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Grouping behaviour is widespread across the animal kingdom, and is known to reduce an individual's risk of predation, for example through predator confusion. Theory predicts that individuals that are different in appearance to the rest of the group are at a greater risk of predation because they are more conspicuous to predators (the ‘oddity’ effec...
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Conspicuous signals may attract both intended receivers as well as unintended receivers such as predators. However, signalling individuals are not the only ones at risk when communicating, as the intended receiver may encounter eavesdropping predators that are attracted to the same signals. Here, we show that the house mouse (Mus domesticus) behavi...
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Polyandry (female multiple mating) can confer important benefits to females, but few studies have considered its potential costs. One such cost may arise through differences in the relatedness of offspring born to females with different mating histories; offspring born to monandrous females are always full siblings, while those produced by polyandr...
Article
Animal groups are often nonrandom assemblages of individuals that tend to be assorted by factors such as sex, body size, relatedness and familiarity. Laboratory studies using fish have shown that familiarity among shoal members confers a number of benefits to individuals, such as increased foraging success. However, it is unclear whether fish in na...
Chapter
Successful predator defence depends on a prey fish’s ability to assess and respond appropriately to changes in predation risk. In their aquatic environment, prey fishes are almost continuously exposed to cues and stimuli that are associated with risk. As antipredator behaviours are energetically costly to perform (Endler, 1986, 1991) and divert att...
Chapter
IntroductionThe predator–prey sequenceSummary and discussionAcknowledgementsReferences
Article
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We compared the behaviour of wild and captive-bred butterfly splitfins (Ameca splendens), an endangered freshwater fish, to investigate whether captive breeding results in the behavioural divergence of wild and captive individuals. In a first experiment, we examined whether the captive environment allows for the similar expression of behaviours obs...
Article
Despite an extensive literature on inbreeding depression in a variety of traits, relatively little is known about the effects of inbreeding on patterns of sexual behaviour. In this study, we use the guppy Poecilia reticulata to investigate the influence of parental relatedness (full-sib. vs. unrelated matings) on sexual behaviour and colour pattern...
Article
Reintroduction projects may fail because captive-reared animals do not possess the behavioural skills required for survival in the wild. Rearing captive-bred animals in semi-natural enclosures prior to release has been used to improve the survival of reintroduced endangered species, but it is unclear how rearing environment influences the developme...
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According to the good-genes hypothesis, females choose among males to ensure the inheritance of superior paternal genes by their offspring. Despite increasing support for this prediction, in some cases differential (non-genetic) maternal effects may obscure or amplify the relationship between paternal attractiveness and offspring quality. Artificia...
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Although kin associations between fish can develop in the laboratory, the importance of kin structure in natural social groups remains uncertain. Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) possess many behavioural and life-history traits that promote kin structure, and so constitute ideal candidates for testing its general significance amongst fish. We collecte...
Article
Early research into the causes of geographical variation in antipredator behaviour in fishes revealed that population differences have an underlying genetic basis. However, evidence from a variety of fish species suggests that learning plays an important role in the development of antipredator responses. Here, we consider the opportunities for lear...
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Many prey species have a genetic predisposition to recognise and respond to predators and can fine-tune their anti-predator behaviour following appropriate experience. Although the Trinidadian guppy ( Poecilia reticulata) has become a model species for the investigation of adaptive behaviour, the extent to which experience mediates predator recogni...
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The ability to recognize and respond to predators often has a learned component, but few studies have examined the role of social learning in the development of antipredator behaviour. We investigated whether wild-caught juvenile guppies, Poecilia reticulata, from a low-predation river in Trinidad increase their response towards a novel predator th...
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Previous work has shown that under elevated predation risk, male guppies (Poecilia reticulata) switch from courtship to less conspicuous coercive mating attempts. This behavioural transition is traditionally interpreted as a 'risk-sensitive' response that makes males less conspicuous to predators. However, predation risk leads to behavioural change...
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When President Coolidge famously attributed the sexual ardour of roosters on a government farm to a steady stream of new hens, he identified a strategy whereby males increase their reproductive success. By preferentially copulating with different females, a polygamous male will facilitate the spread of his genes and sire more offspring. But in orde...

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
To understand how vertebrate colour vision has adapted to unique habitats throughout the course of evolution.
Project
To determine how human-induced changes (e.g. contamination of water systems, climate change etc.) affect sensory systems of vertebrates. The main focus is on how visual and non-visual photoreception cope with a rapidly changing world.
Project
We are investigating the effect of variable water flows on the ecology of native Australian freshwater fishes