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Testing of a novel long-term tracking system (TAO): Using TAO for assessments of fish behaviour in response to an aquatic contaminant
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The lack of behavioural studies in ecotoxicology has been widely criticized because alterations of animal behaviour can potentially change the function and dynamics of whole ecosystems. The purpose of this study was to test a new system (TAO) for tracking fish behaviour in response to an aquatic contaminant (oxazepam). The main hypotheses were that: 1) TAO can track and detect ecologically important differences in fish behaviour when measuring behaviour traits over 20 hours; 2) TAO is able to detect diurnal patterns in ecologically important behaviour traits among tracked individuals used to a fixed night:day regime; and 3) effects of oxazepam can be detected through behavioural change in fish. To test the hypotheses, TAO was used to track guppies and sticklebacks over 20 hours. Differences in activity and explorative behaviour were distinguished between fish treated with and without oxazepam in combination with and without predator cues. The first and third hypotheses were confirmed. A decrease in activity and a stable level of exploratory behaviour were seen over 20 hours for all fish swimming in water without predator cues. For guppy, males had higher activity levels than females. Oxazepam in combination with predator cues resulted in reduced activity and increased exploratory behaviour in male guppies while females and sticklebacks remained unaffected by the drug. No support was found for the second hypothesis because the TAO system, as used in this study, was not able to detect circadian behaviour patterns. The study highlights the importance of long-term behavioural tests in ecotoxicology.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. , 23 p.
Keyword [en]
long-term tracking, ecotoxicology, behaviour, fish, oxazepam
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-104112OAI: diva2:817775
Subject / course
Examensarbete i Geovetenskap/naturgeografi avseende masterexamen
Available from: 2015-06-09 Created: 2015-06-06 Last updated: 2015-06-09Bibliographically approved

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