Stress Coping Strategies in Brown Trout (Salmo Trutta): Ecological Significance and Effects of Sea-Ranching
Abstract: Two distinct stress coping strategies, proactive and reactive, have been stated in various animal studies, each associated with a set of behavioural and physiological characteristics. In a given challenging situation, proactive animals show more aggression, a higher general activity and a predominant sympathetic reaction. In contrast, the reactive copers respond more with immobility and avoidance, and a predominant parasympathetic/hypothalamic activation. This divergence in coping has also been indicated in salmonid fish. Interestingly, many of the differences reported between sea-ranched and wild fish resembles characteristics that differentiate proactive and reactive copers. In the present thesis it is shown that individuals with divergent stress coping styles are identifiable in several brown trout (Salmo trutta) populations. Further, the results show that the distribution of individuals displaying these distinct stress coping strategies differs between populations. This strongly indicates that these traits are heritable and that the variation in selection regime in the native rivers influences these traits. In addition, the results show that populations with hatchery origin are biased towards having higher frequencies of trout displaying a proactive style than populations having wild origin. Also, even though the frequency of early sexual maturation, known as a viable alternative life history in salmonids, differs between populations of brown trout, no link between stress coping strategy and early sexual maturation were found. However, this thesis show that maternal contribution, in the form of egg size, is of major importance whether the progeny will sexually mature early and that it also might be of importance for stress coping strategy. Further, correlations of traits commonly associated with stress coping strategies and behavioural syndromes across context and over time is investigated. The results show that individuals with a strong sympathetic reactivity are more prone to change their behaviour than others.
CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE WHOLE DISSERTATION. (in PDF format)