Publication details.


Author(s):A. Gouraguine, C. Díaz-Gil, O. Reñones, D. S. Otegui, M. Palmer, H. Hinz, I. A. Catalán, D. J. Smith, J. Moranta
Title:Behavioural response to detection of chemical stimuli of predation, feeding and schooling in a temperate juvenile fish
JCR Impact Factor:1.99
Abstract:In order to recruit into adult populations juvenile fish must be able to find food, successfully compete with other
organisms and avoid predation within a habitat, in otherwords they must be able to locate favourable and avoid
detrimental conditions. Bio-chemical research into fish detection and discrimination between chemical cues is
extensive, however whether olfactory mechanisms are critical in habitat selection and avoidance of detrimental
conditions within the marine environment remains under-researched. Despite being one of the scientifically
most explored seas, studies on the use of olfactory system in the selection of water masses of theMediterranean
fish species are absent. Using a chemical choice flume, the chemically mediated behaviour choices to distinct
chemical cues (algae, seagrass, predator and conspecifics) of Symphodus ocellatus, a common Mediterranean
fish, were investigated. In addition to the conventional analysis, which relies on the amount of the time spent
in the specific water mass as the main indicator of preference, the behavioural response triggered by the detection
of a particular cue was also examined, by analysing the mean and variance of speed of the individual fish
movements, a complimentary approach previously not considered in the flume experiments. Bayesian statistical
method was used to calculate both, proportion of time spent in the specific water mass, as well as to analyse the
behavioural response of each individualwithin the specific water mass. In terms of the time spent, the flume trials
conducted resulted in no significant fish selection preference or avoidance for any of thewater masses tested,
however varied speeds and number of burst speed movementswere observed in a number of trials. When no olfactory
stimuluswas present, no change in behaviourwas triggered. Thus, juvenile S. ocellatus undoubtedly has a
capacity of change in behaviour to a complex array of olfactory stimuli, nevertheless the response in the flume
experiment was more complex than just the differences in time of the occupancy between the water masses.
As a result, the analyses of speed could in future prove to be an important complementary tool for studying behavioural
responses of fish using this methodology. The findings are coupled with the development of the rigorous
novel protocol for behavioural analyses using exclusively publicly available apparatus and software, all
described within the manuscript.

Related staff

  • Ignacio A. Catalán Alemany
  • Hilmar Hinz
  • Miguel Palmer Vidal
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