Eutrophication alters social preferences in three-spined sticklebacks (<i>Gasterosteus aculeatus</i>)

Fischer, Stefan ORCID: 0000-0001-8811-7518 and Frommen, Joachim G
(2013) Eutrophication alters social preferences in three-spined sticklebacks (<i>Gasterosteus aculeatus</i>). BEHAVIORAL ECOLOGY AND SOCIOBIOLOGY, 67 (2). pp. 293-299.

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Algae blooms, which can be caused by eutrophication, drastically influence the ecology and behaviour of aquatic organisms. Such impact is often demonstrated in the context of mate choice and predator–prey interactions. In contrast, the influence of increased turbidity on social behaviour is less well understood, although it may have strong influence, at both the level of the individual and the population.We aimed to address this gap in our knowledge by using the well-described preference of three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to shoal with the larger of two shoals as model behaviour. In our experiments focal fish had the choice between two shoals of different sizes, either in clear or in turbid water containing green algae. Fish in clear water spent significantly more time near the larger shoal, while fish in algae water showed no significant preferences. Furthermore, fish tested in clear water changed more often between the shoals than fish tested in algae water. These results indicate that eutrophication-induced algae blooms have the potential to alter social decisions of sticklebacks. Such changes of social decisions do not only influence the behaviour of individuals, furthermore it might influence entire populations. This might eventually lead to changes of the structure of the social system.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: The final publication is available at Springer via
Uncontrolled Keywords: Shoaling, Schooling, Algae blooms, Group living, Fish, Aquatic ecosystems
Subjects: ?? QL ??
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2016 09:08
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2023 03:00
DOI: 10.1007/s00265-012-1449-6
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