Chemical signatures of multi-species foraging aggregations are attractive to fish

DeBose, Jennifer L., and Paul, Valerie J. (2014) Chemical signatures of multi-species foraging aggregations are attractive to fish. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 498. pp. 243-248.

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Abstract

Fish navigate a sea of chemical signatures, which can guide their movements through their environment. Chemoreception is integral to how larval fish find reef habitat and adult fish find home. Yet, the chemicals responsible for driving fish behavior are largely unknown, and the chemical seascapes through which fish navigate are changing with shifting environmental conditions. To investigate the possible suite of chemical cues employed by fishes in their search for foraging hot-spots, we collected 10 l samples of water from the center of natural foraging aggregations. These aggregations were composed of multiple fish species from several trophic levels over the reefs of Belize. We then conducted bioassays on wild-caught Abudefduf saxatilis (N = 84) in laboratory flow tanks using previously frozen seawater samples and extracted compounds from foraging aggregations and paired control sites. Capturing seawater from the midst of natural foraging aggregations, filtering this over C18 resin, and presenting the eluted compounds to a reef fish elicited a significant behavioral response of spending more time in water that contained C18 extracts from fish aggregations compared to controls (p = 0.03). These results indicate that chemical cues collected within the middle of multi-species fish foraging aggregations are attractive to adult reef fish and suggest that chemical signatures associated with foraging aggregations might be important olfactory guides for fish.

Item ID: 35072
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1616-1599
Keywords: chemical ecology, fish aggregation, coral reefs, plankton, bioassay, C18
Funders: Smithsonian Marine Science Network, Caribbean Coral Reef Ecosystems (CCRE), American Philosophical Society
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 04:21
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9606 Environmental and Natural Resource Evaluation > 960604 Environmental Management Systems @ 100%
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