8. The Role of Learning in Fish Orientation

  1. Culum Brown3,
  2. Kevin Laland4 and
  3. Jens Krause5,6
  1. Lucy Odling-Smee1,
  2. Stephen D. Simpson and
  3. Victoria A. Braithwaite2

Published Online: 5 JUL 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444342536.ch8

Fish Cognition and Behavior

Fish Cognition and Behavior

How to Cite

Odling-Smee, L., Simpson, S. D. and Braithwaite, V. A. (2011) The Role of Learning in Fish Orientation, in Fish Cognition and Behavior (eds C. Brown, K. Laland and J. Krause), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444342536.ch8

Editor Information

  1. 3

    Department of Biological Sciences, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia

  2. 4

    Centre for Social Learning and Cognitive Evolution, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9TS, Scotland, UK

  3. 5

    Department of Biology and Ecology of Fishes, Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Berlin, Germany

  4. 6

    Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

Author Information

  1. 1

    Nature Publishing Group, 4 Crinan Street, London, N1 9XW, UK

  2. 2

    School of Forest Resources and, Department of Biology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 5 JUL 2011
  2. Published Print: 29 JUL 2011

Book Series:

  1. Fish and Aquatic Resources Series

Book Series Editors:

  1. Tony J. Pitcher

Series Editor Information

  1. Fisheries Centre, Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory, University of British Columbia, Canada

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444332216

Online ISBN: 9781444342536



  • the role of learning - in fish orientation;
  • miniaturisation of tracking devices, telemetry techniques - spatial behaviours, by fishes;
  • aquatic environment, fishes - diversity of potential cues, their spatial location;
  • spatial information, in predicting - location of receptive mates;
  • keeping track of site-specific resources - fishes, monitoring locations associated with risk;
  • use of learning and memory in orientation - and fish movements;
  • Blind Mexican cave fish (Astyanax fasciatus) - impressive spatial learning abilities;
  • fishes, learning routes and locations - following conspecifics;
  • salmon homing, case study - return by reproductive adults to freshwater streams, olfactory recognition of home-streamwater;
  • capacity to learn, flexibility - fishes, matching their orientation strategy to environment


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • Introduction

  • Why keep track of location?

  • The use of learning and memory in orientation

  • Learning about landmarks

  • Compass orientation

  • Water movements

  • Inertial guidance and internal ‘clocks’

  • Social cues

  • How flexible is orientation behaviour?

  • Salmon homing – a case study

  • Conclusion

  • Acknowledgements

  • References