Intraspecific resource partitioning in brown trout: the temporal distribution of foraging is determined by social rank

Authors

  • Anders Alanärä,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Aquaculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden; and
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  • Martin D. Burns,

    1. Fish Biology Group, Division of Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, Graham Kerr Building, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Glasgow University, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
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  • Neil B. Metcalfe

    1. Fish Biology Group, Division of Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, Graham Kerr Building, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, Glasgow University, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
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Dr Anders Alanärä, Department of Aquaculture, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SE-901 83 Umeå, Sweden. E-mail: anders.alanara@vabr.slu.se. Tel: + 46 90 786 76 77. Fax: + 46 90 12 37 29.

Summary

  • 1Animals can reduce the competition for a limiting resource by temporal segregation, whereby individuals exploit the resource at different times. However, the pay-offs may vary predictably over time, and it can be predicted that (a) more dominant competitors should gain access to resources at the preferred times and (b) the degree of temporal segregation will vary with the intensity of competition.
  • 2Here we show experimentally that individual brown trout Salmo trutta (L.) made sequential use of foraging areas, with dominant individuals feeding mainly at the most beneficial times of dusk and the early part of the night while more subordinate fish fed at other times.
  • 3However, the degree of overlap in foraging times between high-ranking fish was dependent on energetic demands. At low temperatures (when requirements were low) the temporal activity patterns of top-ranking fish were synchronized, with foraging concentrated at the preferred times. In contrast, when temperature was raised to increase energetic requirements, activity patterns showed strong temporal segregation: the most dominant fish remained predominantly nocturnal, whereas second-ranking fish became increasingly diurnal.
  • 4This is the first experimental demonstration of shifts in the daily pattern of activity caused by varying intensity of intraspecific competition.

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