Photograph of Dr Sarah Dalesman.Dr Sarah Dalesman

Lecturer in Freshwater Biology


Office: 2.05 Edward Llwyd Building, Aberystwyth University, Penglais, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 3DA,
Phone: +44 (0)1970 622344
Personal Web Site:


Deputy Scheme coordinator for Marine and Freshwater Biology

Module coordinator

Freshwater Biology (BR22020)

Freshwater Field Course (BR32910)

Teaching areas:

Freshwater Biology (BR22020)

Freshwater Field Course (BR32910)

Brains and Behaviour (BR31510)

Threats to Natural Ecosystems (BR34210)

Teaching Areas


My current research 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.


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 ( Did you know chocolate can improve memories?.....In snails at least! ( 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.

Staff Links



Jones, R., Williams, H., Dalesman, S., Brophy, P. 2015. Confirmation of Galba truncatula as an intermediate host snail forCalicophoron daubneyi in Great Britain, with evidence of alternative snail species hosting Fasciola hepatica. Parasites and Vectors Parasites & Vectors 8 (656) 10.1186/s13071-015-1271-x

Dalesman, S., Rendle, A., Dall, S.R.X. 2015. Habitat stability, predation risk and 'memory syndromes'. Scientific Reports 5 10538 10.1038/srep10538

Dalesman, S., Thomas, A., Rundle, S.D. 2015. Local adaptation and embryonic plasticity affect antipredator traits in hatchling pond snails. Freshwater Biology 60 (4) pp. 663-672. 10.1111/fwb.12512

Liddon, J., Dalesman, S. 2015. Trail following differs between wild and captive reared snails, Lymnaea stagnalis. Journal of Molluscan Studies 81 (2) pp. 299-302. 10.1093/mollus/eyu082


Lukowiak, K., Sunada, H., Teskey, M., Lukowiak, K., Dalesman, S. 2014. Environmentally relevant stressors alter memory formation in the pond snail Lymnaea. Journal of Experimental Biology 217 (1) pp. 76-83. 10.1242/jeb.089441

Sayer, 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. Sex & Bugs & Rock 'n Roll - getting creative about public engagement. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29 (2) pp. 65-67. 10.1016/j.tree.2013.12.008


Lukowiak, K., Dalesman, S. 2013. Chapter 21 - Operant Conditioning of Respiration in Lymnaea. The Environmental Context. Handbook of Behavioral Neuroscience 22 pp. 265-279. 10.1016/B978-0-12-415823-8.00021-6

Dalesman, S., Sunada, H., Teskey, M.L., Lukowiak, K. 2013. Combining stressors that individually impede long-term memory blocks all memory processes. PLoS One 8 (11) e79561 10.1371/journal.pone.0079561


Fruson, L., Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2012. A flavonol present in cocoa [(-)epicatechin] enhances snail memory. Journal of Experimental Biology 215 (20) pp. 3566-3576. 10.1242/jeb.070300

Byzitter, J., Lukowiak, K., Karnik, V., Dalesman, S.J. 2012. Acute combined exposure to heavy metals (Zn, Cd) blocks memory formation in a freshwater snail. Ecotoxicology 21 (3) pp. 860-868. 10.1007/s10646-011-0847-2

Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2012. Alternate behavioural measurements following a single operant training regime demonstrate differences in memory retention. Animal Cognition 15 (4) pp. 483-494. 10.1007/s10071-012-0472-3

Cantrup, 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. Cell-type specific roles for pten in establishing a functional retinal architecture. PLoS One 7 (3) e32795 10.1371/journal.pone.0032795

Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2012. How stress alters memory in 'smart' snails. PLoS One 7 (2) e32334 10.1371/journal.pone.0032334

Karnik, V., Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2012. Input from a chemosensory organ, the osphradium, does not mediate aerial respiration in Lymnaea stagnalis. Aquatic Biology 15 (2) pp. 167-173. 10.3354/ab00416

Karnik, V., Braun, M., Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2012. Sensory input from the osphradium modulates the response to memory-enhancing stressors in Lymnaea stagnalis. Journal of Experimental Biology 215 (3) pp. 536-542. 10.1242/jeb.061432

Lee Teskey, M., Lukowiak, K.S., Riaz, H., Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2012. What's hot: The enhancing effects of thermal stress on long-term memory formation in Lymnaea stagnalis. Journal of Experimental Biology 215 (24) pp. 4322-4329. 10.1242/jeb.075960


Dalesman, S., Braun, M.H., Lukowiak, K. 2011. Low environmental calcium blocks long-term memory formation in a freshwater pulmonate snail. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory 95 (4) pp. 393-403. 10.1016/j.nlm.2010.11.017

Knezevic, B., Dalesman, S., Karnik, V., Byzitter, J., Lukowiak, K. 2011. Low external environmental calcium levels prevent forgetting in Lymnaea. Journal of Experimental Biology 214 (12) pp. 2118-2124. 10.1242/jeb.054635

Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D., Lukowiak, K. 2011. Microgeographical variability in long-term memory formation in the pond snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. Animal Behaviour 82 (2) pp. 311-319. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.05.005

Dalesman, S., Karnik, V., Lukowiak, K. 2011. Sensory mediation of memory blocking stressors in the pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis. Journal of Experimental Biology 214 (15) pp. 2528-2533. 10.1242/jeb.058024

Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2011. Social snails: The effect of social isolation on cognition is dependent on environmental context. Journal of Experimental Biology 214 (24) pp. 4179-4185. 10.1242/jeb.064857


Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D. 2010. Cohabitation enhances the avoidance response to heterospecific alarm cues in a freshwater snail. Animal Behaviour 79 (1) pp. 173-177. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.10.024

Lukowiak, K., Orr, M., de Caigny, P., Lukowiak, K.S., Rosenegger, D., Han, J.I., Dalesman, S. 2010. Ecologically relevant stressors modify long-term memory formation in a model system. Behavioural Brain Research 214 (1) pp. 18-24. 10.1016/j.bbr.2010.05.011

Dalesman, S., Lukowiak, K. 2010. Effect of acute exposure to low environmental calcium on respiration and locomotion in Lymnaea stagnalis (L.). Journal of Experimental Biology 213 (9) pp. 1471-1476. 10.1242/jeb.040493

Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D. 2010. Influence of rearing and experimental temperatures on predator avoidance behaviour in a freshwater pulmonate snail. Freshwater Biology 55 (10) pp. 2107-2113. 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02470.x


Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D., Cotton, P.A. 2009. Crawl-out behaviour in response to predation cues in an aquatic gastropod: Insights from artificial selection. Evolutionary Ecology 23 (6) pp. 907-918. 10.1007/s10682-008-9280-2

Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D., Cotton, P.A. 2009. Developmental plasticity compensates for selected low levels of behavioural avoidance in a freshwater snail. Animal Behaviour 78 (4) pp. 987-991. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2009.07.018


Dalesman, S., Inchley, C.J. 2008. Interaction between olfactory and visual cues affects flight initiation and distance by the hermit crab, Pagurus bernhardus. Behaviour 145 (10) pp. 1479-1492. 10.1163/156853908785765836


Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D., Bilton, D.T., Cotton, P.A. 2007. Phylogenetic relatedness and ecological interactions determine antipredator behavior. Ecology 88 (10) pp. 2462-2467. 10.1890/07-0403.1

Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D., Cotton, P.A. 2007. Predator regime influences innate anti-predator behaviour in the freshwater gastropod Lymnaea stagnalis. Freshwater Biology 52 (11) pp. 2134-2140. 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2007.01843.x


Dalesman, S., Rundle, S.D., Coleman, R.A., Cotton, P.A. 2006. Cue association and antipredator behaviour in a pulmonate snail, Lymnaea stagnalis. Animal Behaviour 71 (4) pp. 789-797. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.05.028

Bricknell, I.R., Dalesman, S.J., O'Shea, B., Pert, C.C., Luntz, A.J.M. 2006. Effect of environmental salinity on sea lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis settlement success. Diseases of Aquatic Organisms 71 (3) pp. 201-212. 10.3354/dao071201