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Behavioural approaches to demonstrate the ecological significance of exposure of juvenile Pacific salmon (genus Oncorhynchus) to the antisapstain fungicide TCMTB

Abstract

Simulated stream conditions were used to expose underyearling Pacific salmon (genus Oncorhynchus) to sublethal doses of TCMTB (2-thiocyanomethylthio) benzothiazole; a fungicide used by the lumber industry to protect against discolouration by sapstain fungi. Observed changes in schooling, swimming, and respiration were studied in more detail utilizing progressively more complex and ecologically relevant experimental designs. Laboratory troughs (600 litre) were used to quantify innate shelter-seeking behaviour and susceptibility to predation during salinity stress. Swimming speed, schooling behaviour and responses to salinity and hypoxia were studied in a 4500-litre Water Column Simulator under vertically stratified conditions (fresh water overlying sea water). Finally a similarly stratified 15,500-litre outdoor tank was designed to compare susceptibility to predation during a volitional salinity challenge. Relative to controls, TCMTB-exposed underyearling salmon exhibited a reduction in cover response, were slower to seek shelter from bright light, were more erratic in their swimming behaviour and more likely to be eaten by marine predators. Videotape analyses confirmed that TCMTB reduced exploratory behaviour and swimming speed under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions in the WCS. The ecological consequences of these overt behavioural changes were experimentally linked to a clear increase in risk from predation by yellowtail rockfish (Sebastes flavidus) inhabiting the marine zone below the halocline of the 15,500-litre tank. These techniques illustrate our most recent efforts to correlate cumulative sublethal physiological stress with ecologically meaningful behavioural dysfunction.

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Kruzynski, G.M., Birtwell, I.K. & Chew, G.L. Behavioural approaches to demonstrate the ecological significance of exposure of juvenile Pacific salmon (genus Oncorhynchus) to the antisapstain fungicide TCMTB. J Aquat Ecosyst Stress Recov 3, 113–127 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00042941

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00042941

Key words

  • Pacific salmon
  • estuary
  • behaviour
  • respiration
  • predation susceptibility
  • antisapstain TCMTB