Auditory and olfactory abilities of pre-settlement larvae and post-settlement juveniles of a coral reef damselfish (Pisces: Pomacentridae). Mar Biol 147:142

University of New South Wales School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences Sydney NSW 2052 Australia
Marine Biology (Impact Factor: 2.39). 01/2007; 147(6):1425-1434. DOI: 10.1007/s00227-005-0028-z


The propagules of most species of reef fish are advected from the reef, necessitating a return to reef habitats at the end
of the pelagic stage. There is increasing evidence of active attraction to the reef but the sensory abilities of reef fish
larvae have not been characterized well enough to fully identify cues. The electrophysiological methods of auditory brainstem
response (ABR) and electroolfactogram (EOG) were used to investigate auditory and olfactory abilities of pre- and post-settlement
stages of a damselfish, Pomacentrus nagasakiensis (Pisces, Pomacentridae). Audiograms of the two ontogenetic stages were similar. Pre-settlement larvae heard as well as their
post-settlement counterparts at all but two of the tested frequencies between 100Hz and 2,000Hz. At 100 and 600Hz, pre-settlement
larvae had ABR thresholds 8dB higher than those of post-settlement juveniles. Both stages were able to detect locally recorded
reef sounds. Similarly, no difference in olfactory ability was found between the two ontogenetic stages. Both stages showed
olfactory responses to conspecifics as well as L-alanine. Therefore, the auditory and olfactory senses have similar capabilities in both ontogenetic stages. Settlement stage
larvae of P. nagasakiensis can hear and smell reef cues but it is unclear as to what extent larvae use these sounds or smells, or both, as cues for
locating settlement sites.

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Available from: Dennis M Higgs, Sep 30, 2015
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    • "Moreover, they have been shown to possess sensory capabilities that could locate distant targets for settlement (olfactory: e.g. [6], [7], [8], [9]; auditory: e.g. [10], [11]). "
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies of the larvae of coral-reef fishes reveal that these tiny vertebrates possess remarkable swimming capabilities, as well as the ability to orient to olfactory, auditory, and visual cues. While navigation according to reef-generated chemicals and sounds can significantly affect dispersal, the effect is limited to the vicinity of the reef. Effective long-distance navigation requires at least one other capacity-the ability to maintain a bearing using, for example, a sun compass. Directional information in the sun's position can take the form of polarized-light related cues (i.e., e-vector orientation and percent polarization) and/or non-polarized-light related cues (i.e., the direct image of the sun, and the brightness and spectral gradients). We examined the response to both types of cues using commercially-reared post-larvae of the spine-cheeked anemonefish Premnas biaculeatus. Initial optomotor trials indicated that the post-larval stages are sensitive to linearly polarized light. Swimming directionality was then tested using a Drifting In-Situ Chamber (DISC), which allowed us to examine the response of the post-larvae to natural variation in light conditions and to manipulated levels of light polarization. Under natural light conditions, 28 of 29 post-larvae showed significant directional swimming (Rayleigh's test p<0.05, R = 0.74±0.23), but to no particular direction. Swimming directionality was positively affected by sky clarity (absence of clouds and haze), which explained 38% of the observed variation. Moreover, post-larvae swimming under fully polarized light exhibited a distinct behavior of tracking the polarization axis, as it rotated along with the DISC. This behavior was not observed under partially-polarized illumination. We view these findings as an indication for the use of sun-related cues, and polarized light signal in specific, by orienting coral-reef fish larvae.
    PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e88468. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0088468 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "In physiological studies that investigated hearing in the zebrafish (Danio rerio), Tanimoto et al. [18] demonstrated that auditory responsiveness can occur as early as 40 hours post fertilization while Higgs et al. [19] using the auditory evoked potential (AEP) technique showed that zebrafish of 1.0–4.5 cm total length (TL) had similar auditory tuning profiles. Wright et al. [20]–[22] also used AEPs to investigate the auditory sensitivity of coral reef fish larvae and showed that larvae have hearing abilities similar to that of juvenile reef fish. In contrast, Wright et al. [23] reported ontogenetic and interspecific differences in the hearing abilities of multiple larval fish species with large variations in the auditory capabilities among species tested. "
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    ABSTRACT: The ontogeny of hearing in fishes has become a major interest among bioacoustics researchers studying fish behavior and sensory ecology. Most fish begin to detect acoustic stimuli during the larval stage which can be important for navigation, predator avoidance and settlement, however relatively little is known about the hearing capabilities of larval fishes. We characterized the acoustically evoked behavioral response (AEBR) in the plainfin midshipman fish, Porichthys notatus, and used this innate startle-like response to characterize this species' auditory capability during larval development. Age and size of larval midshipman were highly correlated (r(2) = 0.92). The AEBR was first observed in larvae at 1.4 cm TL. At a size ≥1.8 cm TL, all larvae responded to a broadband stimulus of 154 dB re1 µPa or -15.2 dB re 1 g (z-axis). Lowest AEBR thresholds were 140-150 dB re 1 µPa or -33 to -23 dB re 1 g for frequencies below 225 Hz. Larval fish with size ranges of 1.9-2.4 cm TL had significantly lower best evoked frequencies than the other tested size groups. We also investigated the development of the lateral line organ and its function in mediating the AEBR. The lateral line organ is likely involved in mediating the AEBR but not necessary to evoke the startle-like response. The midshipman auditory and lateral line systems are functional during early development when the larvae are in the nest and the auditory system appears to have similar tuning characteristics throughout all life history stages.
    PLoS ONE 12/2013; 8(12):e82182. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0082182 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "Estimates for the distance of detection of reefs (100–1000s of metres) have been made for a number of reef fish species using various modelling and empirical approaches (Egner and Mann, 2005; Wright et al., 2005, 2008, 2010; Mann et al., 2007 "
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    ABSTRACT: Coral reef fish spend their first few weeks developing in the open ocean, where eggs and larvae appear merciless to tides and currents, before attempting to leave the pelagic zone and settle on a suitable reef. This pelagic dispersal phase is the process that determines population connectivity and allows replenishment of harvested populations across multiple coral reef habitats. Until recently this pelagic larval dispersal phase has been poorly understood and has often been referred to as the ‘black-box’ in the life-history of coral reef fishes. In this perspective article we highlight three areas where mathematical and computational approaches have been used to aid our understanding of this important ecological process. We discuss models that provide insights into the evolution of the pelagic larval phase in coral reef fish, an unresolved question which lends itself well to a modelling approach due to the difficulty in obtaining empirical data on this life history strategy. We describe how studies of fish hearing and physical sound propagation models can be used to predict the detection distance of reefs for settling larval fish, and the potential impact of anthropogenic noise. We explain how random walk models can be used to explore individual- and group-level behaviour in larval fish during the dispersal and settlement stage of their life-history. Finally, we discuss the mutual benefits that mathematical and computational approaches have brought to and gained from the field of larval behaviour and dispersal of reef fishes.
    Ecological Complexity 12/2013; 16:68–76. DOI:10.1016/j.ecocom.2013.08.001 · 1.93 Impact Factor
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