Reef odor: a wake up call for navigation in reef fish larvae

Paris, Claire B., Atema, Jelle, Irisson, Jean-Olivier, Kingsford, Michael, Gerlach, Gabriele, and Guigand, Cedric M. (2013) Reef odor: a wake up call for navigation in reef fish larvae. PLoS ONE, 8 (8). e72808. pp. 1-8.

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Abstract

The behavior of reef fish larvae, equipped with a complex toolbox of sensory apparatus, has become a central issue in understanding their transport in the ocean. In this study pelagic reef fish larvae were monitored using an unmanned open-ocean tracking device, the drifting in-situ chamber (DISC), deployed sequentially in oceanic waters and in reef-born odor plumes propagating offshore with the ebb flow. A total of 83 larvae of two taxonomic groups of the families Pomacentridae and Apogonidae were observed in the two water masses around One Tree Island, southern Great Barrier Reef. The study provides the first in-situ evidence that pelagic reef fish larvae discriminate reef odor and respond by changing their swimming speed and direction. It concludes that reef fish larvae smell the presence of coral reefs from several kilometers offshore and this odor is a primary component of their navigational system and activates other directional sensory cues. The two families expressed differences in their response that could be adapted to maintain a position close to the reef. In particular, damselfish larvae embedded in the odor plume detected the location of the reef crest and swam westward and parallel to shore on both sides of the island. This study underlines the critical importance of in situ Lagrangian observations to provide unique information on larval fish behavioral decisions. From an ecological perspective the central role of olfactory signals in marine population connectivity raises concerns about the effects of pollution and acidification of oceans, which can alter chemical cues and olfactory responses.

Item ID: 30256
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Additional Information:

© 2013 Paris et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Funders: National Science Foundation (NSF), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Projects and Grants: NSF-SGER OCE-0512167, NSF-OTIC 1155698, NSF OCE 0452988, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft GE842/6-1
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2013 00:38
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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