Temperature and food availability affect risk assessment in an ectotherm

Lienart, Govinda D.H., Mitchell, Matthew D., Ferrari, Maud C.O., and McCormick, Mark I. (2014) Temperature and food availability affect risk assessment in an ectotherm. Animal Behaviour, 89. pp. 199-204.

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Abstract

Risk assessment in ectotherms is strongly affected by an organism's energy expenditure and acquisition because these will alter the motivation to feed, which is balanced against antipredator behaviours. Temperature and food availability are known to affect the physiological condition of ectotherms, but how interactions between these variables may influence predator–prey dynamics is still poorly understood. This study examined the interactive effects of food availability and temperature on the trade-offs between predator avoidance behaviour and foraging in juveniles of a marine damselfish, Pomacentrus chrysurus. Predator avoidance behaviour was tested by exposing fish to chemical alarm cues obtained from skin extract of conspecifics. When detected, these cues elicit an antipredator response in fish, typically characterized by decreased foraging. Fish maintained under high food ration displayed distinct antipredator responses to chemical alarm cues, regardless of temperature. However, fish maintained in conditions of low food ration and 3 °C above ambient temperature did not display an antipredator response when exposed to chemical alarm cues, whereas those in ambient temperature did. These results suggest that individuals in low physiological condition because of limited food availability are more susceptible to increased temperature and may therefore take greater risks under predation threats to satisfy their energetic requirements.

Item ID: 38437
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8282
Keywords: chemical alarm cue, food availability, pomacentrus chrysurus, risk assessment, temperature
Funders: James Cook University, Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2015 03:22
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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