Faces of ESLR: Juliette Tariel
I don’t really know why but I am fascinated by fishes, especially coral reef fishes, marine animals, and animal behaviour. As my educational background is evolutionary biology, my dream job would be to find evolutionary explanations for the diversity of behaviours we see in fishes.
I discovered the fascinating field of animal culture and social learning through an internship with Sabine Nöbel (one of the ESLR member’s directory) and Etienne Danchin at the University of Toulouse Paul Sabatier III in France. There, I contributed to a project studying whether female mosquito fish (Gambusia holbrooki) use social information for their mate choice. Specifically, we investigated the link between a female’s propensity to copy the mate choice of other females and her personality.
After that, I unfortunately couldn’t find a PhD project in fish or social learning, but my PhD project was still interesting. I investigated transgenerational plasticity, which is the effect of parental/ancestral environment on the offspring phenotype. This is the extension of phenotypic plasticity across generations. I studied transgenerational plasticity in the context of behavioural and morphological defences against predators of the small freshwater snail Physa acuta. My supervisors and I characterized how maternal, paternal, or grandparental detection of predators can impact the expression of defence mechanisms in offspring.
For the future, I hope to return to my dream of studying fish behaviour through the lens of an evolutionist. Thus, I am looking for a postdoctoral position on fish evolution and behaviour. Fish can be very good social learners, and some papers have even shown local behavioural traditions in coral reef fishes, and I’m sure there is still a lot to discover!