[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 28-Aug-2013
[ | E-mail Share Share ]

Contact: Jyoti Madhusoodanan
jmadhusoodanan@plos.org
415-568-4545
Public Library of Science

Fish larvae sniff reef odor to find their way home

Olfactory signals help reef fish larvae navigate home

Reef fish larvae are only millimeters-long when they hatch, but can smell the presence of coral reefs from several kilometers offshore, and use this odor to navigate home. The results are reported August 28 in the open access journal PLOS ONE by Claire Paris from the University of Miami and colleagues from other institutions.

The researchers used a novel drifting behavioral arena to find that larvae of two families, damselfish and cardinalfish, changed swimming speed and direction in response to the smell of reef water, but water from the open ocean did not evoke a similar behavior from the larvae. Water temperature and current directions, factors normally important to navigation in the ocean, did not appear to influence the orientation of larvae in this study. The study states that reef odor could act as a wake-up call that signals settlement fish larvae to modify their activity for directions towards the reef. Other fish such as sharks and freshwater salmon are known to navigate using olfactory signals, but this is the first study to report that reef fish larvae use similar odor cues. Paris elaborates, "Unlike most animals that migrate as adults on a seasonal basis, coral reef fish undertake their longest voyage early in their life history. Here we find that coral reef fish larvae smell the reef kilometers away and then switch to a proximal cue which allows them to navigate with a landscape frame of reference."

###

Citation: Paris CB, Atema J, Irisson J-O, Kingsford M, Gerlach G, et al. (2013) Reef Odor: A Wake Up Call for Navigation in Reef Fish Larvae. PLoS ONE 8(8): e72808. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072808

Financial Disclosure: Portions of this study were funded by National Science Foundation (NSF)-SGER OCE-0512167 and NSF-OTIC 1155698 to C. B. Paris, by NSF OCE 0452988 to J. Atema and G. Gerlach, by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft GE842/6-1 to G. Gerlach, and by an Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence Grant to M.J. Kingsford. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interest Statement: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLEASE LINK TO THE SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE IN ONLINE VERSIONS OF YOUR REPORT (URL goes live after the embargo ends): http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0072808.

Disclaimer: This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLOS ONE. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.

About PLOS ONE: PLOS ONE is the first journal of primary research from all areas of science to employ a combination of peer review and post-publication rating and commenting, to maximize the impact of every report it publishes. PLOS ONE is published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS), the open-access publisher whose goal is to make the world's scientific and medical literature a public resource.

All works published in PLOS ONE are Open Access. Everything is immediately availableŚto read, download, redistribute, include in databases and otherwise useŚwithout cost to anyone, anywhere, subject only to the condition that the original authors and source are properly attributed. For more information about PLOS ONE relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and our embargo policy, see the everyONE blog at http://everyone.plos.org/media.



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.