Impaired detection of chemical alarm cues by juvenile wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in a weakly acidic environment

Antoine Olivier Henri Claude Leduc*, Ellie Roh, Mark Charles Harvey, Grant Edwin Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


Many prey fishes rely on damage-released chemical alarm cues to detect and avoid predators. The ability to use these cues has been shown to confer considerable survival benefits to individuals. While several laboratory studies and a single field study have demonstrated that an ambient pH of 6.0 impairs fishes in their ability to detect these alarm cues, no study had yet compared the response to alarm cue exposures across populations residing in multiple streams of a different acidity level. In our study, we conducted live behavioural observations in five nursery streams, ranging in pH from 5.71 to 7.49 on two age classes (young of the year and parr) of wild juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). We aimed to assess if the detection of these chemical alarm cues was constantly dependant on the ambient pH or if variations in the detection occurred among populations of the different streams regardless of the ambient acidity level. Our results demonstrated that salmon present in any acidic stream did not respond to alarm cues, while those in neutral streams exhibited typical alarm responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2356-2363
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science

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