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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    • "). Oriented swimming to a coast is possible if there are sufficient cues for orientation such has been indicated for several marine demersal fish with pelagic larvae (Atema et al., 2002; Wright et al., 2005). Other means of actively avoiding dispersal include vertical migrations between differentially moving deep and shallow currents to remain close to demersal habitat (Paris and Cowen, 2004). "
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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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    • "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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