Fish Behavior Experiments

Дата канвертавання22.04.2016
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Fish Behavior Experiments

within a Specially Designed Aquarium Facility

Expériences de comportements sur des poissons

au sein d’un aquarium spécialement conçu

Ben Williamson

FRS Marine Laboratory, PO Box 101, Victoria Road, Aberdeen, Scotland


The Behaviour Unit at the FRS Marine Laboratory Aberdeen has been specifically designed for carrying out behavioural experiments on a wide variety of fish species found around the coastal waters of the UK. This requires all the conditions within the aquarium to be adjustable depending on the requirements of the experiment. The aquarium is designed to be very flexible with respect to lighting, control of temperature and water conditions. It is also very quiet, and free from vibration.

Research carried out in the aquarium includes experiments on the feeding and energetics of fish, swimming speed studies, and observations on the spawning behaviour of fish. It has been possible to maintain large schools of difficult species, like the herring (Clupea harengus), and the Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus), and in the latter case to study the oxygen consumption of a school in relation to swimming speed. Notable observations have been made of the spawning behaviour and sound production of haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). For this type of research conditions have to be controlled within close limits in order for the fish to behave naturally. Behavioural observations have also been carried out on the grey gurnard (Eutrigla gurnardus) and pollack (Pollachius pollachius).


L’unité comportementale du FRS Marine Laboratory d’Aberdeen a été spécialement conçue pour conduire des expériences sur le comportement d’une grande variété de poissons rencontrés dans les eaux côtières du Royaume Uni. Cette installation nécessite que tous les paramètres de l’aquarium puissent être ajustés selon les exigences des expériences. L’aquarium est conçu pour être modulable du point de vue de la lumière, du contrôle de la température et de la qualité d’eau. Il est également silencieux et sans vibration.

Les recherches menées dans l’aquarium incluent des expériences sur l’alimentation et les besoins énergétiques des poissons, des études sur la nage, et des observations sur leur comportement de reproduction. Il a été possible de maintenir des grands bancs d’espèces difficiles telles que le hareng (Clupea harengus) et le maquereau (Scomber scombrus). Dans ce dernier cas, nous avons pu étudier la relation entre le degré de consommation d’oxygène et la vitesse de déplacement du banc de poissons. Des observations importantes ont été faites sur le comportement de reproduction et les émissions sonores de l’églefin (Melanogrammus aeglefinus). Pour ce genre de recherche, les paramètres doivent être contrôlés très précisément, pour que les poissons se comportent naturellement. Des observations comportementales ont aussi été réalisées sur Eutrigla gurnardus et Pollachius pollachius.

The Fish Behavior Unit (fbu) at the frs Marine Laboratory Aberdeen has been specifically designed to carry out behavioral experiments on a wide variety of fish species, found around the costal waters of the uk. This requires all the conditions within the aquarium to be adjustable, depending on the requirements of the particular experiment. The aquarium is designed to be very flexible with respect to lighting, temperature’s control and water conditions, and is also very quiet and free from vibration.

Other areas of research within the aquarium facilities at the frs Marine Laboratory include important studies into the varying diseases found in the aquaculture industry such as Infectious Salmon Anaemia (isa) which is a contagious viral disease of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) which was first described in Norway in 1984. Another being Infectious pancreatic necrosis (ipn) is the birnavirus, which was originally described from brook trout in the 1940s, but now widely reported from many species of fish and shellfish from Europe, Asia, America, Canada and South America.

Sound production in spawning Haddock in the FBU

The haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is one of the most important fish in the North Sea, especially for Scottish fishermen, its economical annual value is about £50 million.

It is therefore important to carry out research on this species. One particular area of research is on the sound production & behavior of spawning haddock. It has been found that both male and female haddock produce short sequences of repeated ‘knocks’ during agonistic encounters. During the spawning season, however, male fish produce sounds, which vary in their characteristics as courtship proceeds. The repertoire of the male fish consists of a graded series of sounds ranging from a short series of slowly repeated ‘knocks’ to long sounds of rapidly repeated ‘knocks’. The fastest sounds are heard as a continuous humming. Different behavioral acts leading up to the spawning embrace are associated with particular sounds, becoming longer and faster as the level of arousal of the male increases. It is suggested that the sounds serve to bring male and female fish together in the same part of the ocean, and that the sounds also play a role in synchronizing the reproductive behavior of the male and female.

Swimming Studies in the FBU Annular Tank

Research into the swimming endurance and energetic of fish has been carried out in the fbu on such species as herring (Clupea harengus,) haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus), saithe (Pollachius virens) and the Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus). These investigations are carried out by training the fish to swim within a light pattern, projected from a moving gantry arm, which follows a circular path around the annular tank at a known velocity. This technique has been used to investigate the swimming endurance of a number of fish species over a range of swimming speeds and environmental conditions. Also, in combination with a large annular respirometer, this same technique has been used to measure the oxygen consumption, and hence swimming energetic, for saithe and mackerel over a range of different swimming speeds. This work provides fundamental data on the swimming performance of commercially important species, which has been essential for interpreting fish behaviour and understanding the fish, capture process in modern fishing gears.

Behavioral observations have also been carried out on the gray gurnard (Eutrigla gurnardu)s and pollack (Pollachius pollachius).

Bulletin de l’Institut océanographique, Monaco, n° spécial 20, fascicule 1 (2001)

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