Meeting Abstract

S9-9  Sunday, Jan. 8 13:30 - 14:00  Neural and molecular mechanisms of cooperative defense HOFMANN, Hans A; HOFMANN, Johann; The University of Texas at Austin

Cooperative behavior is widespread among animals, yet the neural mechanisms have not been examined in detail. Without knowledge of how the brain processes information during cooperative behavior, our understanding of the role of cognition in cooperation remains limited. We used cooperative territory defense in a cichlid fish to examine neural activity in forebrain regions known for their role in social decision-making. We find that a territorial male neighbor will engage in cooperative defense dependent on the perceived threat of the intruder. Cooperative behavior in this context is processed in the putative homolog of the mammalian basolateral amygdala and in the preoptic area, as well as in preoptic dopaminergic neurons. Further, we find that the resident male modulates his behavior dependent on whether help is received from the neighbor. In the resident, neighbor behavior is correlated with activity in the homolog of the mammalian hippocampus. By delineating the neural activity networks and dopaminergic pathways associated with distinct behavioral roles in a cooperative context, our results lay the foundation for the neurobiological analysis of cooperation within a comparative framework.