Steroids play an integral role in orchestrating embryonic development, and they can affect a suite of phenotypic traits, including learning and behavior. Endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) can alter steroid-dependent phenotypic traits during embryonic development. Bisphenol-A (BPA) is an EDC that disrupts the action of estrogen, and recent work indicates that BPA can affect learning and behavior similarly to estrogen. We exposed red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta) eggs to BPA during embryonic development and tested hatchlings for effects on learning and behavior in modified T-mazes over the course of two weeks. We found that behavioral patterns changed within a day and over the course of the experiment, but we found no effect of BPA treatment. Further, we found that hatchling turtles were highly consistent in their behaviors. These behaviors varied among individuals, suggesting that there are discrete behavioral types in T. scripta hatchlings. The highly repetitive nature of behaviors in the hatchlings might explain the innate biases that we observed and warrants further study.
- Trachemys scripta
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Behavioral Neuroscience