Growth history and intrinsic factors influence risk assessment at a critical life transition for a fish

Lönnstedt, O.M., and McCormick, M.I. (2011) Growth history and intrinsic factors influence risk assessment at a critical life transition for a fish. Coral Reefs, 30 (3). pp. 805-812.

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Making the appropriate decision in the face of predation risk dictates the fate of prey, and predation risk is highest at life history boundaries such as settlement. At the end of the larval phase, most coral reef fishes enter patches of reef containing novel predators. Since vision is often obscured in the complex surroundings, chemical information released from damaged conspecific is used to forewarn prey of an active predator. However, larvae enter the reef environment with their own feeding and growth histories, which will influence their motivation to feed and take risks. The present study explored the link between recent growth, feeding history, current performance and behavioural risk taking in newly settling stages of a coral reef damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis). Older and larger juveniles in good body condition had a stronger response to chemical alarm cues of injured conspecifics; these fish spent a longer time in shelter and displayed a more dramatic decrease in foraging behaviour than fish in lower body condition. Feeding experiments supported these findings and emphasized the importance of body condition in affecting risk assessment. Evidently, larval growth history and body condition influences the likelihood of taking risks under the threat of predation immediately after settlement, thereby affecting the probability of survival in P. amboinensis.

Item ID: 20217
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-0975
Keywords: chemical alarm cues, Pomacentrus amboinensis, body condition, risk assessment
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2012 01:27
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960399 Climate and Climate Change not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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