Journal of Chemical Ecology

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 533–546

Modification of olfactory-related behavior in juvenile Atlantic salmon by changes in pH

  • Carl H. Royce-Malmgren
  • Winsor H. WatsonIII

DOI: 10.1007/BF01880097

Cite this article as:
Royce-Malmgren, C.H. & Watson, W.H. J Chem Ecol (1987) 13: 533. doi:10.1007/BF01880097


The hypothesis that low pH modifies the response of salmonids to certain olfactory stimuli was tested. An interactive video-computer system was used to monitor the behavior of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). At a pH of 7.6, animals were attracted to glycine and avoidedl-alanine. These effects were dose-dependent, with a threshold of 10−7 M. The response of the fish to both amino acids changed when the pH of the test chamber was gradually lowered from 7.6 to 5.1; they became attracted tol-alanine and indifferent to glycine. These effects were reversible with a return to pH 7.6. Our findings suggest that acid rain may contribute to reductions in salmonid populations in acidified rivers by impairing the recognition of olfactory cues by salmon during their spawning migration.

Key Words

Acid rainsalmonSalmo salarpHolfactioncomputervideomigrationglycinel-alanine

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carl H. Royce-Malmgren
    • 1
  • Winsor H. WatsonIII
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoology DepartmentUniversity of New HampshireDurham