Exposure to agricultural pesticide impairs visual lateralization in a larval coral reef fish

Abstract : Lateralization, i.e. the preferential use of one side of the body, may convey fitness benefits for organisms within rapidly-changing environments, by optimizing separate and parallel processing of different information between the two brain hemispheres. In coral reef-fishes, the movement of larvae from planktonic to reef environments (recruitment) represents a major life-history transition. This transition requires larvae to rapidly identify and respond to sensory cues to select a suitable habitat that facilitates survival and growth. This ‘recruitment’ is critical for population persistence and resilience. In aquarium experiments, larval Acanthurus triostegus preferentially used their right-eye to investigate a variety of visual stimuli. Despite this, when held in in situ cages with predators, those larvae that previously favored their left-eye exhibited higher survival. These results support the “brain’s right-hemisphere” theory, which predicts that the right-eye (i.e. left-hemisphere) is used to categorize stimuli while the left-eye (i.e. right-hemisphere) is used to inspect novel items and initiate rapid behavioral-responses. While these experiments confirm that being highly lateralized is ecologically advantageous, exposure to chlorpyrifos, a pesticide often inadvertently added to coral-reef waters, impaired visual-lateralization. This suggests that chemical pollutants could impair the brain function of larval fishes during a critical life-history transition, potentially impacting recruitment success.
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Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7, pp.9165. 〈10.1038/s41598-017-09381-0〉
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Marc Besson, Camille Gache, Frédéric Bertucci, Rohan M. Brooker, Natacha Roux, et al.. Exposure to agricultural pesticide impairs visual lateralization in a larval coral reef fish. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2017, 7, pp.9165. 〈10.1038/s41598-017-09381-0〉. 〈hal-01585550〉

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