Stressed mothers - troubled offspring: a study of behavioural maternal effects in farmed Salmo salar

Eriksen, M.S., Færevik, G., Kittilsen, S., McCormick, M.I., Damsgård, B., Braithwaite, V.A., Braastad, B.O., and Bakken, M. (2011) Stressed mothers - troubled offspring: a study of behavioural maternal effects in farmed Salmo salar. Journal of Fish Biology, 79 (3). pp. 575-586.

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Mature female Atlantic salmon Salmo salar were given intraperitoneal cortisol implants 1 week prior to stripping to examine the influence of simulated maternal stress on offspring boldness and social dominance. Behavioural tests originally designed to investigate stress responsiveness and coping styles in salmonids (i.e. feeding in isolation, dominance tests and acute confinement) were carried out on the offspring 1.5 years after hatching. In the feeding test, there were no differences between the two treatment groups in total feeding score or number of pellets eaten, but offspring from the cortisol-implanted females made more unsuccessful feeding attempts than offspring from control females. In dominance tests, there was no difference between controls and cortisol-treated fish regarding propensity to become socially dominant. A higher proportion of individuals with bite marks, however, was observed in the cortisol group when compared to controls. Cortisol-treated offspring that gained dominant rank in the dominance tests performed more aggressive acts after stable dominance–subordinate relationships were established compared to control winners. During acute confinement stress, offspring from cortisol-implanted females showed a reduction in the proportion of time they were moving compared to the controls. These results indicate that the maternal endocrine state at spawning affects several aspects of progeny behaviour potentially related to subsequent success and survival in farmed S. salar.

Item ID: 20218
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8649
Keywords: aggression; boldness; cortisol; dominance; stress; welfare
Date Deposited: 27 Feb 2012 04:23
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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