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Fisheries Behavioral Ecology - Abstracts

Sogard, S.M. and B.L. Olla. 1997. The influence of hunger and predation risk on group cohesion in a pelagic fish, walleye pollock Theragra chalcogramma. Environmental Biology of Fishes 50:405-413.

Abstract

Variation in the intensity of schooling behavior in fishes suggests that the benefits of aggregation are balanced by certain costs. We examined the proximity of group members to each other in juvenile walleye pollock, Theragra chalcogramma, under different environmental conditions. Food availability, simulated by a gradient of six ration treatments, had a major influence on group cohesion, with increasing dispersion as food level decreased. Group cohesion also decreased at night relative to daytime levels. Small juveniles (x = 53 mm TL) maintained on high rations were highly responsive to the potential threat of a predator, with groups becoming more cohesive and remaining so for up to an hour after the initial threat. A chronic threat (continual presence of predators) resulted in tighter group cohesion than an acute threat (single simulated attack). Small juveniles maintained on low rations were less responsive to predation threats and recovered quickly, supporting the hypothesis that hunger induces risk-taking behavior. Large juveniles (x = 149 mm TL) did not change their degree of aggregation in response to either type of predation threat. An overall plasticity in the degree of cohesiveness among group members indicates that walleye pollock are capable of gradually modifying their schooling behavior according to the environmental context.

 

Last updated 31 March, 2009


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