In this regard, we were interested in determining whether investment in aggression and sexual displays follow a similar pattern.
In particular, previous studies have found contrasting evidence in terms of whether or not a recent female encounter increases the investment in male-male interactions .
Within these environments, males must not only compete for access to a nesting resource (a crevice under rocks) and defend it aggressively against other males ) and recent social experience (e.g., prior exposure to a female versus male) should be important determinants of male investment in both courtship and aggression.
In particular, we expected that a recent encounter with a female may decrease male investment in costly courtship due to an increase in the rate of perceived mating opportunities as compared to a rival encounter.
We expected that, under challenging conditions, males are able to make a lower resource allocation to behavioural plasticity and, therefore, strategic adjustment of courtship effort (if any) should be less pronounced under the physiological cost of a higher salinity level .
We also expected males to be strategic with regard to their investment in male-male aggression.
For example, harsher environments may reduce sensitivity to the social environment if plastic responses to the latter are costly.To test these predictions, we used a desert-dwelling fish, the desert goby, , to experimentally investigate the effects of prior social experience (with either a male or a female) on male investment in courtship and aggression under physiologically benign and challenging conditions (i.e., low versus high salinity).We found that males maintained a higher level of aggression towards a rival after a recent encounter with a female, compared to an encounter with a male, under low (but not high) salinity.Individuals were randomly distributed among the different treatments.The aim of experiment 1 was to investigate the effects of salinity and social experience on male investment in courtship behaviour.