Title
Social interactions, predation behaviour and fast start performance are affected by ammonia exposure in brown trout (**Salmo trutta** L.) Social interactions, predation behaviour and fast start performance are affected by ammonia exposure in brown trout (**Salmo trutta** L.)
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Amsterdam ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Aquatic toxicology. - Amsterdam
Aquatic toxicology. - Amsterdam
Volume/pages
90(2008) :2 , p. 145-153
ISSN
0166-445X
ISI
000261309900008
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
In fish, fast starts are brief, sudden accelerations during predatorprey encounters. They serve for escape and predation and are therefore ecologically important movements. Fast starts are generated by glycolytic muscle performance and are influenced by many internal and external factors. It is known that ammonia pollution has a major effect on the glycolytic muscle action, thus creating conditions in which fast start performance might be reduced and predation rates altered. Therefore, escape response and predation strikes were investigated in brown trout (Salmo trutta) of 10 and 20 cm body length exposed to an elevated (1 mg l−1) ammonia concentration for 24 and 96 h. Various locomotor and behavioural variables were measured. In C-starts, i.e. an escape start where the fish bends into a C-shaped position, ammonia exposure had no effect on response latency. After 96 h of exposure, cumulative distance, maximum swimming speed and turning radius of the prey were all significantly reduced and the escape went in no definite direction. The effect of ammonia exposure was more pronounced in large fish than in small fish. Predation strikes were also affected. Distance, speed and turning radius were significantly lower in exposed fish. Agonistic behaviour of dominant fish was significantly reduced and fish spent more time resting. Predator behaviour was also altered and the number of prey captured was reduced. This study shows that ammonia exposure affects brown trout escape response mainly through a reduction in fast start velocity and through an impairment of directionality. Thus, in addition to a reduced strength of the response, ammonia exposure could also reduce the fishs elusiveness facing a predator. Predation rate and social interactions are disrupted and predatorprey relationships could be altered.
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