Reduction in antipredator response detected between first and second generations of endangered juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar in a captive breeding and rearing programme

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Abstract

Behaviour trials determining antipredator response were conducted on first and second generation juveniles from a captive breeding and rearing programme for endangered Inner Bay of Fundy Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Second generation captive fry displayed significantly higher levels of risk-taking behaviour before and after exposure to a simulated avian predator. Because the first and second generation fry were reared under the same environmental conditions and differed only in the number of generations spent in captivity, these results suggest that rapid genetic changes, possibly due to domestication selection, may have occurred. Antipredator response was also assessed in fully wild and highly domesticated experimental groups: wild fry displayed the greatest antipredator response and domesticated fry displayed the highest levels of risk-taking behaviour. These results add to the growing evidence documenting rapid genetic change in response to rearing in a captive environment.

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