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Environmental diversity constrains learning in Drosophila melanogaster

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Colin Tosh, Dr Barry Brogan



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Royal Entomological Society, 2017.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


1. Much is known about how enriched environmental diversity affects ability to learn across the months and years that are the developmental periods of large animals. 2. Less is known about how diversity impacts learning across the minutes and hours during which sensory environments of small foraging animals such as insects may vary dramatically. 3. We show that D. melanogaster exposed to a diversity of odour-taste associations over a few minutes subsequently learn standard associative learning tasks poorly. 4. This effect is robust to variation in odours used in all parts of experiments. 5. Findings may impact on at least three major research areas in ecology: the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, the evolution of floral constancy in pollinators, and the pest-protective effects of mixed species crops.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Tosh CR, Brogan B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Ecological Entomology

Year: 2017

Volume: 42

Issue: 6

Pages: 697-703

Print publication date: 01/12/2017

Online publication date: 03/07/2017

Acceptance date: 12/05/2017

Date deposited: 12/05/2017

ISSN (print): 0307-6946

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2311

Publisher: Royal Entomological Society


DOI: 10.1111/een.12435


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