Fish rely on both chemical and visual cues to evaluate predation risk. Decisions with respect to activity partitioning in time (i.e., night vs. day) rely on accurate assessment of predation risk relative to energy intake; predation risk is generally thought to be lower at night at the expense of feeding opportunities. At night, the sensory complement model predicts greater reliance on chemical perception of risk. Under this condition, a lower ability to use vision should result in a more conservative response to chemical cues than during the day. We tested this hypothesis under natural conditions by comparing the alarm response of young-of-the-year Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L., 1758) under summer day and night conditions in salmon nursery streams. We found that salmon responded to the alarm cues to a significantly greater extent at night. This suggests that the sensory complement model may be correct and that nocturnal perception of risk may be generally higher than previously believed for juvenile salmon in the wild. In the absence of a more precise indicator of risk (e.g., vision), a greater reliance on chemosensory risk assessment at night may cause fish to shift to more risk-adverse behaviour.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology