, Volume 152, Issue 3, pp 569–581

The disruption of dominance hierarchies by a non-native species: an individual-based analysis

  • S. Blanchet
  • G. Loot
  • L. Bernatchez
  • J. J. Dodson
Behavioral Ecology


We studied the effects of the exotic rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) on the performance and the dominance hierarchy of native Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) at the group and individual level using laboratory and semi-natural experiments. At the group level, we compared the effects of interspecific and intraspecific competition (substitutive and additive design) on behavioural responses and growth of young-of-the-year Atlantic salmon. At the individual level, the same design was used to evaluate: (1) the temporal consistency of behavioural responses, dominance hierarchy and growth rate of Atlantic salmon; (2) the pattern of correlations between behaviours; and (3) the relationship between individual growth rate and behaviour. In the laboratory, group-level analyses revealed a weak but similar effect of rainbow trout and intraspecific competition on the behaviour and growth of Atlantic salmon. In contrast, individual-based analyses demonstrated that rainbow trout (but not intraspecific competition) strongly affected behavioural strategy, dominance hierarchy and growth trajectory of individual Atlantic salmon. Specifically, behaviours, dominance status and growth rate of salmon were temporally consistent in the intraspecific environment, while these patterns were disrupted when rainbow trout were present. Similarly, we found that rainbow trout strongly affected behavioural correlations and the relationships between individual growth rate and behaviour. The semi-natural experiments confirmed these results as interspecific competition affected relationships between individual growth rate of salmon, initial weight and activity index. Overall, individual-based analyses highlighted important mechanisms that were concealed at the group level, and that may be crucial to understand ecological and evolutionary consequences of exotic species. Moreover, these results demonstrated that competition with an exotic species disrupts the hierarchical relationship among native individuals and may therefore represent a potential for a shift in selective pressure.


Behavioural correlations Social hierarchy Competition Salmonids Phenotypic plasticity 


  1. Adams CE, Huntingford FA (1996) What is a successful fish? Determinants of competitive success in Arctic char (Salvelinus fontinalis) in different social contexts. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 53:2446–2450CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Aubin-Horth N, Ryan DAJ, Good SP, Dodson JJ (2005) Balancing selection on size: effects on the incidence of an alternative reproductive tactic. Evol Ecol Res 7:1171–1182Google Scholar
  3. Asner GP, Vitousek PM (2005) Remote analysis of biological invasion and biogeochemical change. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. doi:10.1073/pnas.0500823102Google Scholar
  4. Baron J, Li Y (2000) Notes on R for psychology experiments and questionnaires. http://www.psych.upenn.edu/∼baron/rpsych.pdf
  5. Baxter CV, Fausch DK, Murakami M, Chapman PL (2004) Fish invasion restructures stream and forest food webs by interrupting reciprocal prey subsidies. Ecology 85:2656–2663Google Scholar
  6. Bell AM (2005) Behavioural differences between individuals and two populations of stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus). J Evol Biol. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2004.00817.xGoogle Scholar
  7. Bell AM, Stamps JA (2004) Development of behavioural differences between individuals and populations of sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Anim Behav. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2004.05.007Google Scholar
  8. Blackburn TM, Cassey P, Duncan RP, Evans KL, Gaston KJ (2004) Avian extinction and mammalian introductions on oceanic islands. Science 305:955–1958CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blanchet S, Dodson JJ, Brosse S (2006) Influence of habitat structure and fish density on Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. territorial behaviour. J Fish Biol. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8649.2006.00970.xGoogle Scholar
  10. Blanchet S, Loot G, Grenouillet G, Brosse S (2007) Competitive interactions between native and exotic salmonids: a combined field and laboratory demonstration. Ecol Freshwater Fish. doi:10.1111/j.1600- 0633.2006.00205.xGoogle Scholar
  11. Bolnick DI, Svanback R, Fordyce JA, Yang LH, Davis JM, Hulsey CD, Forister ML (2003) The ecology of individuals: incidence and implications of individual specialization. Am Nat 161:1–28PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Burmeister SS, Jarvis ED, Fernald RD (2005) Rapid behavioural and genomic responses to social opportunity. PLoS Biol. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030363Google Scholar
  13. Carere C, Drent PJ, Privitera L, Koolhaas JM, Groothuis TGG (2005) Personalities in great tits, Parus major: stability and consistency. Anim Behav. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2005.01.003Google Scholar
  14. Chesson P (1994) Multispecies competition in variable environments. Theor Popul Biol 45:227–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clavero M, Garcia-Berthou E (2005) Invasive species are a leading cause of animal extinctions. Trends Ecol Evol. doi:10.1016/j.tree.2005.01.003Google Scholar
  16. Coltman DW, Pilkington J, Kruuk LEB, Wilson K, Pemberton JM (2001) Positive genetic correlation between parasite resistance and body size in a free-living ungulate population. Evolution 55:2116–2125PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Connell JH (1983) On the prevalence and relative importance of interspecific competition: evidence from field experiments. Am Nat 122:661–696CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Côté SD (2000) Dominance hierarchies in female mountain goats: stability, aggressiveness and determinants of rank. Behaviour 137:1541–1566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cresswell W (1998) Relative competitive ability changes with competitor density: evidence from feeding blackbirds. Anim Behav. doi:10.1006/anbe.1998.0902Google Scholar
  20. Cresswell W (2001) Relative competitive ability does not change over time in blackbirds. J Anim Ecol. doi:10.1046/j.1365–2656.2001.00486.xGoogle Scholar
  21. Cutts CJ, Adams CE, Campbell A (2001) Stability of physiological and behavioural determinants of performance in Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus). Can J Fish Aquat Sci 58:961–968CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dall SRX, Houston AI, McNamara JM (2004) The behavioural ecology of personality: consistent individual differences from an adaptive perspective. Ecol Lett. doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2004.00618.xGoogle Scholar
  23. Elliott JM, Hurley MA (1997) A functional model for maximum growth of Atlantic Salmon parr, Salmo salar, from two populations in northwest England. Funct Ecol 11:592–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fausch KD (1984) Profitable stream position for salmonids: relating specific growth rate to net energy gain. Can J Zool 64:441–451Google Scholar
  25. Fausch KD (1998) Interspecific competition and juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar): on testing effects and evaluating the evidence across scales. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 55[Suppl 1]:218–231Google Scholar
  26. Fausch KD, White RJ (1986) Competition among juveniles of coho salmon, brook trout and brown trout in a laboratory stream, and implication for Great Lakes Tributaries. Trans Am Fish Soc 115:363–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Fausch KD, Taniguchi Y, Nakano S, Grossman GD, Townsend CR (2001) Flood disturbance regimes influence rainbow trout invasion success among five holartic regions. Ecol Appl 11:1438–1455CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Flodmark LEW, Forseth T, L’Abee-Lund JH, Vollestad LA (2006) Behaviour and growth of juvenile brown trout exposed to fluctuating flow. Ecol Freshwater Fish 15:57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Forseth T, Ugedal O, Jonsson B, Fleming IA (2003) Selection on Arctic charr generated by competition from brown trout. Oikos 101:467–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Freeman AS, Byers JE (2006) Divergent induced responses to an invasive predator in marine mussel populations. Science 313:831–833PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gibson RJ (1981) Behavioural interactions between coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri) at the juvenile fluviatile stages. Can Tech Rep Fish Aquat SciGoogle Scholar
  32. Gorokhova E, Hansson S, Hoglander H, Andersen CM (2005) Stable isotopes show food web changes after invasion by the predatory cladoceran Cercopagis pengoi in a Baltic Sea bay. Oecologia 143:251–259PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gozlan RE, St-Hilaire S, Feist SW, Martin P, Kent ML (2005) Biodiversity—disease threat to European fish. Nature 435:1046–1046Google Scholar
  34. Grant WA, Kramer DL (1990) Territory size as a predictor of the upper limit to population density of juvenile salmonids in streams. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 47:205–212Google Scholar
  35. Grant PR, Grant BR (2006) Evolution of character displacement in Darwin’s finches. Science 313:224–226PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Gross MR (1996) Alternative reproductive strategies and tactics: diversity within sexes. Trends Ecol Evol 11:92–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Gurnell J, Wauters LA, Lurz PWW, Tosi G (2004) Alien species and interspecific competition: effects of introduced eastern grey squirrels on red squirrel population dynamics. J Anim Ecol 73:26–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hansen TF, Stenseth NC, Henttonen H, Tast J (1999) Interspecific and intraspecific competition as causes of direct and delayed density dependence in a fluctuating vole population. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96:986–991CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Harwood AJ, Armstrong JD, Metcalfe NB, Griffiths SW (2002) Does dominance status correlates with growth in wild stream-dwelling Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)? Behav Ecol. doi:10.1093/beheco/arg080Google Scholar
  40. Hearn WE, Kynard BE (1986) Habitat utilization and behavioral interaction of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and rainbow trout (Salmo gairdneri) in tributaries of the White River of Vermont. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 43:1988–1998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hipkiss T, Hornfeldt B, Eklund U, Berlin S (2002) Year-dependent sex-biased mortality in supplementary-fed Tengmalm’s owl nestlings. J Anim Ecol 71:693–699CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hoffmann HA, Benson ME, Fernald RD (1999) Social status regulates growth rate: consequence for life-history strategies. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96:14171–14176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Höjesjö J, Johnsson JI, Bohlin T (2004) Habitat complexity reduces the growth of aggressive and dominant brown trout (Salmo trutta) relative to subordinates. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 56:286–289CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Höjesjö J, Armstrong JD, Griffiths SW (2005) Sneaky feeding by salmon in sympatry with dominant brown trout. Anim Behav 69:1037–1041CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Humphries S, Metcalfe NB, Ruxton GD (1999) The effect of group size on relative competitive ability. Oikos 85:481–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Johnsson JI, Bohlin T (2006) The cost of catching up: increased winter mortality following structural growth compensation in the wild. Proc R Soc Lond B 273:1281–1286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kaliszewicz A, Johst K, Grimm V, Uchmanski J (2005) Predation effects on the evolution of life-history traits in a clonal oligochaete. Am Nat 166:409–417PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Keenleyside MH, Yamamoto FT (1962) Territorial behaviour of juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). Behaviour 19:39–169Google Scholar
  49. Kraus C, Thomson DL, Kunkele J, Trillmich F (2005) Living slow and dying young? Life-history strategy and age-specific survival rates in a precocial small mammal. J Anim Ecol 74:71–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Li YM, Wilcove DS (2005) Threats to vertebrate species in China and the United States. Bioscience 55:147–153CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lodge DM (1993) Biological invasions: lessons for ecology. Trends Ecol Evol 8:133–137CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Martin-Smith KM, Armstrong JD (2002) Growth rate of wild stream-dwelling Atlantic salmon correlate with activity and sex but not dominance. J Anim Ecol 71:413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Mills MD, Rader RB, Belk MC (2004) Complex interactions between native and invasive fish: the simultaneous effects of multiple negative interactions. Oecologia 141:713–721PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Morita K, Tsuboi J-I, Matsuda H (2004) The impact of exotic trout on native charr in a Japanese stream. J Appl Ecol 41:962–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mouillot D, et al. (2005) Niche overlap estimates based on quantitative functional traits: a new family of non-parametric indices. Oecologia 145:345–353PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Nakano S (1995) Competitive interactions for foraging microhabitats in a size-structured interspecific dominance hierarchy of two sympatric stream salmonids in a natural habitat. Can J Zool 73:1845–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Ostrovsky I (1995) The parabolic pattern of animal growth—determination of equation parameters and their temperature dependencies. Freshwater Biol 33:357–371CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Ortega YK, McKelvey KS, Six DL (2006) Invasion of an exotic forb impacts reproductive success and site fidelity of a migratory songbird. Oecologia 149:340–351PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Phillips BL, Shine R (2004) Adapting to an invasive species: toxic cane toads induce morphological change in Australian snakes. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. doi:10.1073_pnas.0406440101Google Scholar
  60. Pimentel D, Lach L, Zuniga R, Morrisson D (2000) Environmental and economic costs of nonindigeneous species in the United States. BioScience 50:53–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Pinheiro JC, Bates DM (2000) Mixed-effects models in S and S-PLUS. Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New YorkGoogle Scholar
  62. R Development Core Team (2005) R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, Vienna. ISBN 3-900051-07-0, URL http://www.R-project.org
  63. Réale D, Gallant BY, Leblanc M, Festa-Bianchet M (2000) Consistency of temperament in bighorn ewes and correlates with behaviour and life history. Anim Behav. doi:10.1006/anbe.2000.1530Google Scholar
  64. Roff DA (2002) Life history evolution. Sinauer, Sunderland, Mass.Google Scholar
  65. Saetre GP, Post E, Kral M (1999) Can environmental fluctuation prevents competitive exclusion in sympatric flycatchers? Proc R Soc Lond B 266:1247–1251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Sih A, Bell AM, Johnson JC, Ziemba RE (2004) Behavioural syndromes: an integrative overview. Q Rev Biol 79:241–277PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Sloman KA, Wilson L, Freel JA, Taylor AC, Metcalfe NB, Gilmour KM (2002) The effects of increased flow rates on linear dominance hierarchies and physiological function in brown trout, Salmo trutta. Can J Zool 80:1221–1227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Shine R, Mason RT (2005) Does large body size in males evolve to facilitate forcible insemination? A study on garter snakes. Evolution 59:2426–2432PubMedGoogle Scholar
  69. Sparrevik E, Leonardsson K (1999) Direct and indirect effects of predation by Saduria entomon (Isopoda) on the size-structure of Monoporeia affinis (Amphipoda). Oecologia 120:77–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Tregenza T, Thompson DJ (1998) Unequal competitor ideal free distribution in fish? Evol Ecol 12:655–666CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Vázquez DP, Simberloff D (2003) Changes in interaction biodiversity induced by an introduced ungulate. Ecol Lett. doi:10.1046/j.1461-0248.2003.00534.xGoogle Scholar
  72. Volpe JP, Anholt BR, Glickman BW (2001) Competition among juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss): relevance to invasion in British Columbia. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 58:197–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wilson AJ, Kruuk LEB, Coltman DW (2005) Ontogenetic patterns in heritable variation for body size: using random regression models in a wild ungulate population. Am Nat 166:E177–E192PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. Blanchet
    • 1
  • G. Loot
    • 2
  • L. Bernatchez
    • 1
  • J. J. Dodson
    • 1
  1. 1.CIRSA & Québec-Océan, Département de Biologie, Pavillon VachonUniversité LavalSte FoyCanada
  2. 2.Laboratoire Evolution et Diversité Biologique, U.M.R 5174, C.N.R.SUniversité Paul SabatierToulouse Cedex 4France

Personalised recommendations