Sílvia Costa

Sílvia Costa

Post-doctoral fellow 


E-mail: scosta@ispa.pt

Phone: + 351 21 8811700 (ext. 311)

Fax: + 351 21 8860954



:: Research interests


- Spatial cognition and memory in fish

- Sexual differences in behaviour



:: Current research project


Spatial Cognition in intertidal fish


Spatial cognition is extremely important for animals living in complex environments such as intertidal habitats. A map-like representation of the environment, acquired during high-tide, would enable intertidal animals to better explore their home-range during low tide. In intertidal fish little is known on spatial memory, except for anecdotic situations in which fish reveal a detailed knowledge of their environment, however it is still not proven that fish in naturalistic situations have a map-like representation of their environment.


This project aims to investigate the mechanisms of spatial cognition in intertidal teleost fish using the peacock blenny, Salaria pavo (Blenniidae) and Lipophrys pholis (Blenniidae) as study models. These species are excellent model systems since are suited for both laboratory experimental studies under controlled situations, and for field studies in a naturalistic setting. A population of Salaria pavo from Culatra Island, Algarve, Portugal and a population of Lipophrys pholis from São Pedro do Estoril, Portugal will be studied. This project aims to give an insight if animals respond in the same way under laboratory conditions and in their natural environment. Since different sex morphotypes are present in S. pavo (nest-holder males, sneaker males and females) they offer a unique opportunity for the study of inter- and intra-sexual differences in spatial cognition, given that they may present different needs in spatial navigation. Comparisons between spatial cognition strategies used during and outside the breeding season will be made.


Funded by: FCT - SFRH/BPD/30367/2006



:: Selected publications


Costa, S.S., Andrade, R., Carneiro, L.A., Gonçalves, E.J., Kotrschal, K. & Oliveira, R.F. 2011. Sex differences in the dorsolateral telencephalon correlate with home range size in blenniid fish. Brain Behavior and Evolution. 77: 55-64 


Feijo, J.A., Costa, S.S., Prado, A.M., Becker, J.D. and Certal, A.C. 2004. Signalling by tips. Current Opinion Plant Biology 7(5): 589-98.

Horários e Contactos

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