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International Journal of Ecology - Volume 2015 2015, Article ID 894579, 9 pages -

Research Article

Department of Biology, Concordia University, Montréal, QC, Canada H4B 1R6

Department of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1S 5B6

Received 17 July 2015; Revised 30 September 2015; Accepted 13 October 2015

Academic Editor: Ram Chander Sihag

Copyright © 2015 Chris K. Elvidge and Grant E. Brown. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Weak levels of acidity impair chemosensory risk assessment by aquatic species which may result in increased predator mortalities in the absence of compensatory avoidance mechanisms. Using replicate populations of wild juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in neutral and acidic streams, we conducted a series of observational studies and experiments to identify differences in behaviours that may compensate for the loss of chemosensory information on predation risk. Comparing the behavioural strategies of fish between neutral and acidic streams may elucidate the influence of environmental degradation on nonconsumptive effects NCEs of predation. Salmon in acidic streams are more active during the day than their counterparts in neutral streams, and are more likely to avoid occupying territories offering fewer physical refugia from predators. Captive cross-population transplant experiments indicate that at equal densities, salmon in acidic streams do not demonstrate relative decreases in growth rate as a result of their different behavioural strategies. Instead, altering diel activity patterns to maximize visual information use and occupying relatively safer territories appear sufficient to offset increased predation risk in acidic streams. Additional strategies such as elevated foraging rates during active periods or adopting riskier foraging tactics are necessary to account for the observed similarities in growth rates.

Autor: Chris K. Elvidge and Grant E. Brown



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