Schooling Behavior of Stickleback Fish from Different Habitats
This activity guides the analysis of a published scientific figure from a study that tested how individual fish responded to an artificial model of a fish school.
Schooling is a social behavior that differs among threespine stickleback fish in different habitats. To test whether schooling behavior is inherited or learned, individual stickleback fish were raised without their parents and then placed near an artificial model of a school. Panel A of the figure shows the design for the model, which consisted of eight model fish attached to a rotating wheel. Panel B shows the average time that individual marine or freshwater stickleback fish spent schooling with the model. The “Educator Materials” document includes a captioned figure, background information, graph interpretation, and discussion questions. The “Student Handout” includes a captioned figure and background information.
The video below shows the experiment in action.
Student Learning Targets
- Analyze and interpret data from a scientific figure.
- Distinguish between learned and inherited behaviors.
acquired trait, bar graph, error bar, habitat, inherited trait, instinct, physical model, social behavior, standard error of the mean (SEM)
Wark, Abigail R., Anna K. Greenwood, Elspeth M. Taylor, Kohta Yoshida, and Catherine L. Peichel. “Heritable differences in schooling behavior among threespine stickleback populations revealed by a novel assay.” PLoS ONE 6, 3 (2011): e18316. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0018316.
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Accessibility Level (WCAG compliance)
HS-LS2-8; SEP2, SEP4, SEP5
AP Biology (2019)
IST-5.A, ENE-3.D; SP1, SP2, SP4
IB Biology (2016)
AP Environmental Science (2020)
Learning Objectives & Practices: ERT-1.A, SP4, SP5
IB Environmental Systems and Societies (2017)
Common Core (2010)
Math.S-ID.3, Math.S-IC.1; MP2, MP5
Vision and Change (2009)
CC1; DP2, DP3