Alison Bell

Associate Professor, Department of Animal Biology
B.A., University of Chicago, Ph.D. University of California at Davis

Proximate and ultimate causes of consistent individual differences in behavior

Research in the Bell lab is focused on understanding why individual animals behave differently from each other. In other words, why do individuals of the same species have different personalities? Although we tend to think that 'personality' is confined to humans and perhaps nonhuman primates, there is growing evidence for something akin to personality in nonhuman animals as well. Even an individual fish, for example, behaves differently from other fish, through time and across situations. We study the proximate mechanisms underlying personality and the ultimate (evolutionary) consequences of personality using threespined stickleback fish (mostly) as a model system.

Research Areas

Representative Publications

McGhee, K.E. and Bell, A.M. 2014. Paternal care in a fish: Epigenetics and fitness enhancing effects on offspring. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B.281.

McGhee, K.E., Pintor, L., Bell, A.M. 2013. Reciprocal behavioral plasticity and behavioral types during predator-prey interactions. American Naturalist 82:704-717.

Pearish, S.P., Hostert L.M., Bell, A.M. 2013. Behavioral type-environment correlations in the field: A study of three-spined stickleback. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 67:765-774.

Laskowski, K.L. & Bell, A.M. 2013. Competition avoidance drives individual differences in response to a changing food resource in sticklebacks. Ecology Letters 16:746-53.

Sanogo, Y.O., Band, M.A., Blatti, C., Sinha, S. & Bell, A.M. 2012. Transcriptional regulation of brain gene expression in response to a territorial intrusion. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 279: 4929-4938.

Roche, D., McGhee, K.E., Bell, A.M. 2012. Maternal predator-exposure has lifelong consequences for offspring learning in sticklebacks. Biology Letters 6:932-935.

McGhee, K.E., Pintor, L., Suhr, E., Bell, A.M. 2012. Maternal exposure to predation risk decreases offspring antipredator behaviour and survival in threespined stickleback. Functional Ecology 26: 932-940.

Sanogo, Y.O, Hankison, S., Band, M., Obregon, A., Bell, A.M.. 2011. Brain transcriptomic response of threespine sticklebacks to cues of a predator. Brian, Behavior and Evolution 77: 270-285.