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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Investigation Into American Eel Chemical Cues as Potential Tools To Aid Restoration

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AUTHORS: Andrew K. Schmucker*, Michigan State University; Nicholas S. Johnson, U.S. Geological Survey; Heather S. Galbraith, U.S. Geological Survey; Weiming Li, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: American eels Anguilla rostrata have experienced staggering population declines in recent decades and are the focus of an international restoration effort. Previous studies have demonstrated that eels are attracted to conspecific washings, and that these cues may be useful for guiding migratory individuals around man-made river barriers. We built upon these studies by characterizing glass eel and elver dose-response relationships to conspecific cues, determining glass eel concentration preferences, and assessing cue responsiveness during late-stage glass eel metamorphosis into elvers; all important factors for gauging their potential utility for population restoration and understanding American eel chemical ecology. We hypothesized that American eels use conspecific cueing (habitat selection based on the quantity of conspecific odorants present), in part, to guide their migrations toward productive habitat, but that cue responses could differ by life stage. As such, we predicted that glass eels and elvers would have discernible dose response (attraction) relationships to glass eel and elver washings, respectively, that glass eels would consistently prefer the higher concentration washings if two were presented simultaneously, and attraction to glass eel washings would decrease during late-stage glass eel metamorphosis into elvers. In two-choice maze assays, glass eels were attracted to glass eel washings over a range of concentrations and the dose-response relationship best fit a logarithmic function. Elvers did not share the same relationships and no attraction was observed to elver washings. Glass eels still preferred undiluted washings when 1/16th and 1/100th dilution washings were also present. No discernible shift in response to undiluted glass eel washings occurred while metamorphosing into elvers. The conspecific cueing hypothesis was supported in some cases, indicating from a practical standpoint, that conspecific cues may be useful for guiding glass eels to passage around barriers if applied to passage devices at concentrations higher than present in the surrounding environment.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST
Emerald B

Attendees (7)