Social isolation affects intra-specific interaction behaviour and reduces the size of the cerebellar brain region in juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar

Haoyu Guo, Joacim Näslund*, Søren T. Thomassen, Martin H. Larsen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

The social environment can affect the development of behavioural phenotypes in fish and it is important to understand such effects when rearing fish in artificial environments. Here, we test the effects of spatial isolation on social interaction propensity and brain development in hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. Salmon reared in isolation generally stayed further away from a conspecific in a standardized intruder test than conspecifics reared together in groups. Isolated salmon also tended to be more active in an intruder test, albeit non-significantly so, but this pattern was not detected in open-field tests without an intruding conspecific. The cerebellar brain region was relatively smaller in isolated salmon, suggesting that the brain was developing differently in these fish. Hence, some features of the behavioural and neural phenotype are affected by rearing in isolation. These effects should be considered when rearing salmon, particularly for experimental purposes as it may affect results of laboratory studies on behavioural expression and brain size.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Volume101
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)711-721
Number of pages11
ISSN0022-1112
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Behavioural development
  • Brain size
  • Group rearing
  • Salmonidae
  • Social isolation

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