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Disturbance cues in freshwater prey fishes: Does urea function as an ‘early warning cue’in juvenile convict cichlids and rainbow trout?

Title:

Disturbance cues in freshwater prey fishes: Does urea function as an ‘early warning cue’in juvenile convict cichlids and rainbow trout?

Brown, Grant E. and Jackson, Christopher and Malka, Patrick H. and Jacques, Elisa and Couturier, Marc-André (2012) Disturbance cues in freshwater prey fishes: Does urea function as an ‘early warning cue’in juvenile convict cichlids and rainbow trout? Current Zoology, 58 (2). pp. 250-259.

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Official URL: http://www.actazool.org/paperdetail.asp?id=12001

Abstract

Freshwater vertebrate and invertebrate prey species commonly rely on chemosensory information, including non-injury released disturbance cues, to assess local predation threats. We conducted laboratory studies to (1) determine if urea can function as a disturbance cue in juvenile convict cichlids and rainbow trout and (2) determine if the background level of urea influences the behavioral response to a subsequent pulse of urea (‘background noise’ hypothesis). In the first series of trials, juvenile cichlids and trout were exposed to urea at varying concentrations (0 to 0.5 mg L-1 for cichlids and 0 to 1.0 mg L-1 for trout). Our results suggest that both cichilds and trout exhibited functionally similar responses to urea and conspecific disturbance cues and that increasing the concentration of urea results in an increase intensity of antipredator behaviour. In the second series of trials, we pre-exposed cichlids or trout to intermediate or high concentrations of urea (or a distilled water control) and then tested for the response to a second pulse of urea at at intermediate or high concentrations (versus a distilled water control). Our results demonstrate that pre-exposure to urea reduces or eliminates the response to a second pulse of urea, supporting the background noise hypothesis. Together, our results suggest that pulses of urea, released by disturbed or stressed individuals, may function as an early warning signal in freshwater prey species [Current Zoology 58 (2): 250–259 , 2012].

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Authors:Brown, Grant E. and Jackson, Christopher and Malka, Patrick H. and Jacques, Elisa and Couturier, Marc-André
Journal or Publication:Current Zoology
Date:April 2012
Keywords:Disturbance cue, Metabolic wastes, Chemosensory risk assessment, Predator-prey interactions, Convict cichlids, Rainbow trout
ID Code:974112
Deposited By:ANDREA MURRAY
Deposited On:06 Jun 2012 16:11
Last Modified:06 Jun 2012 16:11
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