Dr Sarah Dalesman

PhD Fellow of the HEA

Dr Sarah Dalesman

Lecturer in Freshwater Biology

Contact Details


I started with a PhD in behavioural ecology at the University of Plymouth assessing antipredator behaviour in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. Sticking with snails, I then moved over to Canada in 2008 and worked in a neurobiology laboratory at the University of Calgary funded by a postdoctoral fellowship from Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions. Most of the work I did in Calgary was on stress and memory, with particular focus on how different forms of stress can interact to affect memory formation (http://theconversation.com/forgetful-snails-could-tell-us-about-how-our-memories-work-20935). Did you know chocolate can improve memories?.....In snails at least! (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/running-ponies/2012/09/30/how-to-improve-snail-memories-with-chocolate/). In 2012 I moved back to the U.K. as a research fellow at the University of Exeter, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, which I have retained on joining IBERS in January 2014. My current research work leads on from my experience in Canada but focussing on more ecological questions, particularly what drives differences in memory among individuals and natural populations.



My current research, funded by a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship, focuses on the causes and consequences of cognitive differences among populations, using the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis, as a model species. I am also interested in cognitive syndromes, whether the ability to perceive, learn and remember aspects of the environment differs in a consistent manner among individuals. I use all life stages in my work, from embryos to adults, and future work will include following individuals throughout their lifetime to determine factors influencing plasticity and fitness. Antipredator behaviour: I have worked on antipredator behaviour in a range of freshwater and marine invertebrates. I am particularly interested in the different cues and modes of perception different species use in determining predation threat. This work also links in with my interests in learning and memory, in determining how experience alters predator perception. Ecotoxicology: The non-lethal effect of environmental pollutants is a growing area of interest in aquatic research. I have recently supervised student projects assessing the effects of metal and pharmaceutical pollutants on development and behaviour of aquatic organisms (freshwater and marine). I am also currently developing ways to assess the physiological and behavioural impact of microplastics on freshwater invertebrates.


Repeatability and degree of territorial aggression differs among urban and rural great tits (Parus major)Hardman, S. & Dalesman, S. 2018 In : Scientific Reports. 5042
The prevalence and development of digenean parasites within their intermediate snail host, Galba truncatula, in a geographic area where the presence of Calicophoron daubneyi has recently been confirmedJones, R., Williams, H., Dalesman, S., Sinmidele, A., Thomas, R. & Brophy, P. 2017 In : Veterinary Parasitology.240, p. 68-74
Confirmation of Galba truncatula as an intermediate host snail for Calicophoron daubneyi in Great Britain, with evidence of alternative snail species hosting Fasciola hepaticaJones, R., Williams, H., Dalesman, S. & Brophy, P. 2015 In : Parasites & Vectors.8, 656, 4 p.
Habitat stability, predation risk and 'memory syndromes'Dalesman, S., Rendle, A. & Dall, S. R. X. 2015 In : Scientific Reports.5, 10538
Trail following differs between wild and captive reared snails, Lymnaea stagnalisLiddon, J. & Dalesman, S. 2015 In : Journal of Molluscan Studies.81, 2, p. 299-302
Local adaptation and embryonic plasticity affect antipredator traits in hatchling pond snailsDalesman, S., Thomas, A. & Rundle, S. D. 2015 In : Freshwater Biology.60, 4, p. 663-672
Sex & Bugs & Rock 'n Roll - getting creative about public engagementSayer, E. J., Featherstone, H. C., Gosling, W. D., Bird-Matthews, F., Pierce, S. C., Heard, M. S., Griffiths, H., Walker, T., Gould, I. J., Baxendale, C., Fawdon, P., Gunn, L., Salmon, K., Dixon, S., Rogers, H., Rose, A., Dalesman, S. & Powell, T. 2014 In : Trends in Ecology and Evolution.29, 2, p. 65-673 p.
Environmentally relevant stressors alter memory formation in the pond snail LymnaeaLukowiak, K., Sunada, H., Teskey, M., Lukowiak, K. & Dalesman, S. 2014 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.217, 1, p. 76-838 p.
Combining stressors that individually impede long-term memory blocks all memory processesDalesman, S., Sunada, H., Teskey, M. L. & Lukowiak, K. 2013 In : PLoS One.8, 11, e79561
Chapter 21 - Operant Conditioning of Respiration in Lymnaea. The Environmental ContextLukowiak, K. & Dalesman, S. 2013 In : Handbook of Behavioral Neuroscience.22, p. 265-27915 p.
What's hot: The enhancing effects of thermal stress on long-term memory formation in Lymnaea stagnalisLee Teskey, M., Lukowiak, K. S., Riaz, H., Dalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2012 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.215, 24, p. 4322-43298 p.
A flavonol present in cocoa [(-)epicatechin] enhances snail memoryFruson, L., Dalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2012 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.215, 20, p. 3566-357611 p.
Alternate behavioural measurements following a single operant training regime demonstrate differences in memory retentionDalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2012 In : Animal Cognition.15, 4, p. 483-49412 p.
Input from a chemosensory organ, the osphradium, does not mediate aerial respiration in Lymnaea stagnalisKarnik, V., Dalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2012 In : Aquatic Biology.15, 2, p. 167-1737 p.
Acute combined exposure to heavy metals (Zn, Cd) blocks memory formation in a freshwater snailByzitter, J., Lukowiak, K., Karnik, V. & Dalesman, S. J. 2012 In : Ecotoxicology.21, 3, p. 860-8689 p.
Cell-Type Specific Roles for PTEN in Establishing a Functional Retinal ArchitectureCantrup, R., Dixit, R., Palmesino, E., Bonfield, S., Shaker, T., Tachibana, N., Zinyk, D., Dalesman, S., Yamakawa, K., Stell, W. K., Wong, R. O., Reese, B. E., Kania, A., Sauvé, Y. & Schuurmans, C. 2012 In : PLoS One.7, 3, e32795
How stress alters memory in 'smart' snailsDalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2012 In : PLoS One.7, 2, e32334
Sensory input from the osphradium modulates the response to memory-enhancing stressors in Lymnaea stagnalisKarnik, V., Braun, M., Dalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2012 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.215, 3, p. 536-5427 p.
Microgeographical variability in long-term memory formation in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalisDalesman, S., Rundle, S. D. & Lukowiak, K. 2011 In : Animal Behaviour.82, 2, p. 311-3199 p.
Low external environmental calcium levels prevent forgetting in LymnaeaKnezevic, B., Dalesman, S., Karnik, V., Byzitter, J. & Lukowiak, K. 2011 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.214, 12, p. 2118-21247 p.
Low environmental calcium blocks long-term memory formation in a freshwater pulmonate snailDalesman, S., Braun, M. H. & Lukowiak, K. 2011 In : Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.95, 4, p. 393-40311 p.
Social snails: The effect of social isolation on cognition is dependent on environmental contextDalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2011 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.214, 24, p. 4179-41857 p.
Sensory mediation of memory blocking stressors in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalisDalesman, S., Karnik, V. & Lukowiak, K. 2011 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.214, 15, p. 2528-25336 p.
Ecologically relevant stressors modify long-term memory formation in a model systemLukowiak, K., Orr, M., de Caigny, P., Lukowiak, K. S., Rosenegger, D., Han, J. I. & Dalesman, S. 2010 In : Behavioural Brain Research.214, 1, p. 18-247 p.
Influence of rearing and experimental temperatures on predator avoidance behaviour in a freshwater pulmonate snailDalesman, S. & Rundle, S. D. 2010 In : Freshwater Biology.55, 10, p. 2107-21137 p.
Effect of acute exposure to low environmental calcium on respiration and locomotion in Lymnaea stagnalis (L.)Dalesman, S. & Lukowiak, K. 2010 In : Journal of Experimental Biology.213, 9, p. 1471-14766 p.
Cohabitation enhances the avoidance response to heterospecific alarm cues in a freshwater snailDalesman, S. & Rundle, S. D. 2010 In : Animal Behaviour.79, 1, p. 173-1775 p.
Developmental plasticity compensates for selected low levels of behavioural avoidance in a freshwater snailDalesman, S., Rundle, S. D. & Cotton, P. A. 2009 In : Animal Behaviour.78, 4, p. 987-9915 p.
Crawl-out behaviour in response to predation cues in an aquatic gastropod: Insights from artificial selectionDalesman, S., Rundle, S. D. & Cotton, P. A. 2009 In : Evolutionary Ecology.23, 6, p. 907-91812 p.
Interaction between olfactory and visual cues affects flight initiation and distance by the hermit crab, Pagurus bernhardusDalesman, S. & Inchley, C. J. 2008 In : Behaviour.145, 10, p. 1479-149214 p.
Predator regime influences innate anti-predator behaviour in the freshwater gastropod Lymnaea stagnalisDalesman, S., Rundle, S. D. & Cotton, P. A. 2007 In : Freshwater Biology.52, 11, p. 2134-21407 p.
Phylogenetic relatedness and ecological interactions determine antipredator behaviorDalesman, S., Rundle, S. D., Bilton, D. T. & Cotton, P. A. 2007 In : Ecology.88, 10, p. 2462-24676 p.
Effect of environmental salinity on sea lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis settlement successBricknell, I. R., Dalesman, S. J., O'Shea, B., Pert, C. C. & Luntz, A. J. M. 2006 In : Diseases of Aquatic Organisms.71, 3, p. 201-21212 p.
Cue association and antipredator behaviour in a pulmonate snail, Lymnaea stagnalisDalesman, S., Rundle, S. D., Coleman, R. A. & Cotton, P. A. 2006 In : Animal Behaviour.71, 4, p. 789-7979 p.