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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Sogard, S.M. and B.L. Olla. 1993. The influence of predator presence on utilization of artificial seagrass habitats by juvenile walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma. Environmental Biology of Fishes 37:57-65.


Behavioral preference for a structured habitat (artificial seagrass) by juvenile walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, was tested in controlled laboratory experiments. We monitored position of fish in 2000 l tanks with and without artificial seagrass present in one half of the tank. In addition, we exposed walleye pollock to a predator model, assessing their response when a grass plot was available or unavailable as a potential refuge. In the absence of predators, the fish avoided the artificial seagrass, displaying a preference for the open water side of the experimental tanks. In the presence of a predator model, however, juvenile walleye pollock readily entered the artificial seagrass plots. In addition, they often remained in the grass canopy in proximity to the predator instead of moving out of the grass to avoid the predator (when no grass was present they consistently moved to the opposite side of the tank from the predator). The behavioral choices exhibited in this study suggest that juvenile walleye pollock modify habitat selection in response to perceived predation risk, and recognize the structure provided by artificial seagrass as a potential refuge.


Last updated 31 March, 2009

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