Interspecific differences in how habitat degradation affects escape response

McCormick, Mark I., and Allan, Bridie J.M. (2017) Interspecific differences in how habitat degradation affects escape response. Scientific Reports, 7.

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Degradation of habitats is widespread and a leading cause of extinctions. Our study determined whether the change in the chemical landscape associated with coral degradation affected the way three fish species use olfactory information to optimize their fast-start escape response. Water from degraded coral habitats affected the fast-start response of the three closely-related damselfishes, but its effect differed markedly among species. The Ward's damselfish (Pomacentrus wardi) was most affected by water from degraded coral, and displayed shorter distances covered in the fast-start and slower escape speeds compared to fish in water from healthy coral. In the presence of alarm odours, which indicate an imminent threat, the Ambon damsel (P. amboinensis) displayed enhanced fast-start performance in water from healthy coral, but not when in water from degraded coral. In contrast, while the white-tailed damsel (P. chrysurus) was similarly primed by its alarm odour, the elevation of fast start performance was not altered by water from degraded coral. These species-specific responses to the chemistry of degraded water and alarm odours suggest differences in the way alarm odours interact with the chemical landscape, and differences in the way species balance information about threats, with likely impacts on the survival of affected species in degraded habitats.

Item ID: 53186
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2045-2322
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Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2018 02:11
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 100%
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