It began in ponds and rivers: charting the beginnings of the ecology of fish cognition

Susan D. Healy*, B. Wren Patton

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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But fish cognitive ecology did not begin in rivers and streams. Rather, one of the starting points for work on fish cognitive ecology was work done on the use of visual cues by homing pigeons. Prior to working with fish, Victoria Braithwaite helped to establish that homing pigeons rely not just on magnetic and olfactory cues but also on visual cues for successful return to their home loft. Simple, elegant experiments on homing established Victoria's ability to develop experimental manipulations to examine the role of visual cues in navigation by fish in familiar areas. This work formed the basis of a rich seam of work whereby a fish's ecology was used to propose hypotheses and predictions as to preferred cue use, and then cognitive abilities in a variety of fish species, from model systems (Atlantic salmon and sticklebacks) to the Panamanian Brachyraphis episcopi. Cognitive ecology in fish led to substantial work on fish pain and welfare, but was never left behind, with some of Victoria's last work addressed to determining the neural instantiation of cognitive variation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number823143
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2022


  • Veterinary Science
  • Cognitive ecology
  • Fish
  • Homing pigeon
  • Navigation
  • Predation
  • Spatial cognition


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