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Interaction between exopolysaccharide and oxygenation levels on habitat selection in the sole Solea solea (L.)

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A habitat selection experiment was conducted to examine the behavioural response of sole Solea solea to a combination of sediment quality (exopolysaccharides, EPS-free, i.e. 0 mg l−1 and EPS-rich, i.e. 4 mg l−1) and water oxygenation level (100 and 35% air saturation). The distribution of sole was influenced differently by the type of substratum depending on the water oxygenation level. In normoxia, sole settled preferentially on sand whereas under hypoxic conditions, sole settled preferentially on the muddy substratum. In order to explain these apparently counter-intuitive observations, it is proposed that, via cutaneous respiration, young sole are able to take advantage of the large quantities of oxygen produced by microphytobenthic organisms present in the upper few millimetres of muddy substratum.
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Keywords: EPS; Solea solea; habitat selection; hypoxia; substratum; water viscosity

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: Unité de Physiologie Comparée et Intégrative, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, UFR Sciences et Technologies, 6 avenue Le Gorgeu, Brest, 29285 cedex-3 France

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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