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Do juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) use chemosensory cues to detect and avoid risky habitats in the wild?

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Abstract:

We examined whether juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in the wild adjust their behaviour in response to chemical cues of predator activity during a 4-week period after emergence from gravel nests. In each of seven 75 m2 sites in Catamaran Brook, New Brunswick, Canada, we established three contiguous sections differing in perceived predator activity by releasing stream water in control sections, conspecific alarm cues in risky sections, and nothing in buffer sections in both 2006 and 2007. As predicted, the density of young-of-the-year (YOY) salmon tended to decrease in alarm cue sections, while it increased in control and buffer sections. After the 2-week manipulation in 2006, we switched treatments so that buffer sections became alarm cue sections and alarm cue sections became buffer sections for an additional 2-week period. After the switch, the number of YOY increased least in the new alarm cue sections and most in control and new buffer sections. In contrast with YOY, the density of age 1+ parr was not affected by the experimental treatments. Our results suggest that YOY salmon can use chemical alarm cues to assess the predator activity of habitats in the wild.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2011-011

Affiliations: Department of Biology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke West, Montréal, QC H4B 1R6, Canada.

Publication date: April 12, 2011

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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