Document Detail

Understanding the importance of episodic acidification on fish predator-prey interactions: Does weak acidification impair predator recognition?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  23063639     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
The ability of prey to recognize predators is a fundamental prerequisite to avoid being eaten. Indeed, many prey animals learn to distinguish species that pose a threat from those that do not. Once the prey has learned the identity of one predator, it may generalize this recognition to similar predators with which the prey has no experience. The ability to generalize reduces the costs associated with learning and further enhances the ability of the prey to avoid relevant threats. For many aquatic organisms, recognition of predators is based on odor signatures, consequently any anthropogenic alteration in water chemistry has the potential to impair recognition and learning of predators. Here we explored whether episodic acidification could influence the ability of juvenile rainbow trout to learn to recognize an unknown predator and then generalize this recognition to a closely related predator. Trout were conditioned to recognize the odor of pumpkinseed sunfish under circumneutral (~pH 7) conditions, and then tested for recognition of pumpkinseed or longear sunfish under both neutral or weakly acidic (~pH 6) conditions. When tested for a response to pumpkinseed odor, we found no significant effect of predator odor pH: trout responded similarly regardless of pH. Moreover, under neutral conditions, trout were able to generalize their recognition to the odor of longear sunfish. However, the trout could not generalize their recognition of the longear sunfish under acidic conditions. Given the widespread occurrence of anthropogenic acidification, acid-mediated impairment of predator recognition and generalization may be a pervasive problem for freshwater salmonid populations and other aquatic organisms.
Grant E Brown; Chris K Elvidge; Maud C O Ferrari; Douglas P Chivers
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Publication Detail:
Type:  JOURNAL ARTICLE     Date:  2012-10-10
Journal Detail:
Title:  The Science of the total environment     Volume:  439C     ISSN:  1879-1026     ISO Abbreviation:  Sci. Total Environ.     Publication Date:  2012 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-10-15     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0330500     Medline TA:  Sci Total Environ     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  62-66     Citation Subset:  -    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Department of Biology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC, Canada H4B 1R6. Electronic address:
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