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Against the flow: chemical detection of downstream predators in running waters

Publiceringsår: 1998
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 1339-1344
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volym: 265
Nummer: 1403
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Royal Society


In running waters, chemical cues have generally been assumed to always come from upstream locations.

Here, we present ¢eld and laboratory evidence that Gammarus pulex can use chemical cues from down-

stream predators to adaptively adjust drifting behaviour. In the ¢eld, signi¢cantly fewer Gammarus

migrated into stream enclosures where brown trout (Salmo trutta) were present than into control enclo-

sures. In a subsequent laboratory experiment, Gammarus actively avoided live trout and trout chemicals

placed downstream in an arti¢cial stream, whereas no e¡ects were found in response to control or visual

cues.We suggest that the mechanism explaining the ability of Gammarus to detect downstream predators is

use of back£ows, which locally transport ¢sh chemicals against the main £ow. Such back£ows are both

created by the Gammarus itself and by surrounding substrate heterogeneity. These results profoundly a¡ect

the way in which we view the chemical environment of running waters and have important implications

for empirical and theoretical work evaluating predator e¡ects in running waters, as they demonstrate that

prey immigration rates can depend on downstream predator densities.


  • Ecology
  • chemical communication
  • predator^prey interaction
  • £uid dynamics
  • drifting behaviour
  • migration
  • Gammarus pulex


  • ISSN: 1471-2954

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