Humans aren’t the only ones who might experience culture shock – and for some animals a failure to adjust to different “cultures” might be lethal! In the case of juvenile Pacific salmon and invasive smallmouth bass, young salmon innately recognize the smell of their native predators (northern pikeminnow) but either don’t recognize the smell of non-native smallmouth bass or associate it with danger. A paper on my research into behavioral responses of salmon to the different predator cues just came out in the journal Freshwater Biology, adding to the body of literature on how aquatic species and ecosystems respond (or don’t!) when a mysterious stranger moves into town. You can link to the article here – you can also check out a short video clip which shows the differences in behavioral responses to the two predator odors that we saw in our lab experiment.
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