Physiological and behavioural responses to hypoxia in an invasive freshwater fish species and a native competitor

Nati, J. J.H., Lindström, J. , Yeomans, W. and Killen, S. (2018) Physiological and behavioural responses to hypoxia in an invasive freshwater fish species and a native competitor. Ecology of Freshwater Fish, 27(3), pp. 813-821. (doi: 10.1111/eff.12394)

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The spread of invasive species is one of the major environmental concerns which can have negative effects on biodiversity. While several life history traits have been identified as being important for increasing the invasiveness of introduced species, the physiological factors that allow certain species to become successful invaders remain poorly understood. It has been speculated that good invaders are thriving in disturbed environments. In unfavourable conditions, as during hypoxic events, invasive species might be better adapted in their physiological and behavioural responses towards this stressor. We compared physiological and behavioural traits between two freshwater fish species: the European bullhead (Cottus gobio), an invasive fish species in Scotland, and its native competitor the stone loach (Barbatula barbatula) over different dissolved oxygen concentrations (DO). Contrary to expectations, bullhead displayed a reduced hypoxia tolerance as compared to stone loach, indicated by a higher threshold (Pcrit) for the maintenance of standard metabolism. Avoidance behaviour during progressive hypoxia was similar between bullhead and stone loach. When given a choice between an open normoxic zone and a shelter located in hypoxia, both species spent most of their time hiding under the shelter in hypoxic conditions (bullhead: 100%; stone loach: 93.93%–99.73%), although stone loach showed brief excursions into normoxic conditions under 25% DO level. These results suggest that stone loach might be more resistant to hypoxia as compared to bullhead, and thus that increased hypoxia tolerance is likely not a trait by which bullhead have been able to expand their range within the United Kingdom.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lindstrom, Dr Jan and Killen, Professor Shaun and Yeomans, Dr William and Nati, Miss Julie
Authors: Nati, J. J.H., Lindström, J., Yeomans, W., and Killen, S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Ecology of Freshwater Fish
ISSN (Online):1600-0633
Published Online:25 March 2018
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2018 John Wiley and Sons A/S
First Published:First published in Ecology of Freshwater Fish 27(3): 813-821
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
594261The Influence of Individual Physiology on Group Behaviour in Fish SchoolsShaun KillenNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/J019100/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED