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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Ryer, C.H. and B.L. Olla. 1996. Growth depensation and aggression in laboratory reared coho salmon: the effect of food distribution and ration size. Journal of Fish Biology 48:686-694.


Groups of recently emerged coho salmon fry Oncorhynchus kisutch were reared for 3 months on food that appeared either asynchronously at a single location (localized) or synchronously and spatially dispersed (dispersed). Groups were further subdivided into those receiving low (1%) or high (3% body weight per day) rations, with five replicate groups for each treatment combination. At low ration there was greater growth depensation, i.e. growth variation, in groups receiving localized as compared to dispersed food. At high ration there was no difference. There was no effect of food distribution upon mean fish weight, but groups receiving high rations had greater mean fish weights than groups receiving low rations. There was no overall difference in the frequency of chasing between any of the treatment combinations. However, in localized food groups, dominants defended positions close to where food entered the tank, giving them greater access than subordinates. In dispersed food groups, while dominants also defended particular areas, this did not result in greater access to food. These results demonstrate that although feeding methodology may not directly influence the frequency of aggressive interactions, feeding methods which facilitate food monopolization by dominants can accelerate the growth of these individuals at the expense of subordinates. In aquacultural applications where greater size is desirable, or otherwise selected for, this may result in the unintentional selection for increased aggressiveness.


Last updated 31 March, 2009

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