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Effects of prenatal stress on sepia officinalis

Abstract : Prenatal stress is a subject of growing ethological interest due to its effects on human health and animal welfare. This Ph.D. thesis utilizes the cuttlefish Sepia officinalis, a convenient model in which developing offspring can be separated from their mothers to examine various potential sources of stress in experimental isolation. Several categories of stressors were applied to cuttlefish and cuttlefish eggs and the resulting offspring were tested in a range of physiological and behavioral tests. The goal was to determine if various types of prenatal stress affect cuttlefish, and if so, how these effects are transmitted. The data presented demonstrate that both stressors applied to reproducing females (maternal stress), as well as stressors applied directly to embryos (embryonic stress), affected post-natal behavior (including body patterning, brain lateralization, predation and activity patterns), learning, memory and/or neurobiology (including monoamine concentrations and turnover, the size of various brain lobes and cell division). The results highlight the presence of three pathways by which stress can exert effects: on the number of offspring produced by the female, transmission from the female to her offspring and directly on the offspring themselves. The experiments also demonstrated that a completely artificial stressor (bright light) affected a wider range of behaviors in offspring than a natural-occurring one (predator odor). Finally, the data showed that incubation and spawning environment can also affect offspring, and thus deserve attention in the formulation and interpretation of experiments with this species. These findings inform both welfare practices for cuttlefish and other cephalopods (e.g. reduce handling to maximize reproduction) as well as elucidating and reinforcing ethological principles that apply to animal stress in general (e.g. the transmission of stress effects from mother to offspring). Given the insight provided here and in numerous other studies, cuttlefish and other cephalopods should continue to serve as behavioral models in ethology and biology in general.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, September 25, 2018 - 2:49:13 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01881106, version 1


Caitlin O Brien. Effects of prenatal stress on sepia officinalis. Animal biology. Normandie Université, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017NORMC249⟩. ⟨tel-01881106⟩



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