Document Detail

Slow-moving predatory gastropods track prey odors in fast and turbulent flow.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  15755879     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Olfactory searching by aquatic predators is reliant upon the hydrodynamic processes that transport and modify chemical signals. Previous studies indicate that the search behavior of some benthic crustaceans is hindered by rapid water flow and turbulent mixing of prey chemicals, but different sensory strategies employed by other taxa might offset such detrimental effects. Using a laboratory flume, we investigated the odor-tracking behavior of a marine gastropod whelk (Busycon carica) to test the generalization that turbulence interferes with chemically mediated navigation. We exposed individual whelks to turbulent odor plumes in free-stream velocities of 1.5, 5, 10 or 15 cm s(-1), or with one of two obstructions placed upstream of the odor source in an intermediate flow of 5 cm s(-1). Measurements of velocity and stimulus properties confirmed that obstruction treatments increased turbulence intensity and altered the fine-scale structure of downstream odor plumes. In all conditions tested, between 36-63% of test animals successfully located the odor source from 1.5 m downstream with no significant effect of flow treatment. Search behaviors, such as cross-stream meander were reduced at higher flow velocities and in the presence of obstructions, allowing whelks to reach the odor source significantly more quickly than in slower, less turbulent conditions. Our results demonstrate that whelks can respond to chemical information in fast and turbulent flow, and we suggest that these slow-moving predators can forage in hydrodynamic environments where the olfactory abilities of other taxa are limited.
Matthew C Ferner; Marc J Weissburg
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Comparative Study; Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't; Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.    
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Journal of experimental biology     Volume:  208     ISSN:  0022-0949     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Exp. Biol.     Publication Date:  2005 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2005-03-09     Completed Date:  2005-05-02     Revised Date:  2006-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0243705     Medline TA:  J Exp Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  809-19     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Biology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332-0230, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Analysis of Variance
Feeding Behavior / physiology*
Mollusca / physiology*
Smell / physiology*
Water Movements*

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