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The role of individual behavioral traits on fishway passage attempt behavior

Lothian, A.J. and Lucas, M.C. (2021) 'The role of individual behavioral traits on fishway passage attempt behavior.', Ecology and Evolution, 11 (17). pp. 11974-11990.


Variations in behavioral traits are widely recognized to drive animal behaviors exhibited within a population. However, information on how behavior traits influence behavior in anthropogenically modified habitats is lacking. Many habitats have become highly fragmented as a result of human processes. To mitigate this and improve habitat connectivity, wildlife passes are increasingly employed, with the aim of enabling animals to move freely between habitats. However, wildlife passes (e.g., fishways) are not always effective in achieving passage and it remains uncertain what factors play a role in an individual's likelihood of passing successfully. This study measured three behavioral traits (boldness, exploration, and activity) in juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta; n = 78) under field conditions within a river and tested whether these behavior traits influenced both the passage success and the behaviors exhibited during upstream fishway passage attempts. Although behavioral traits were found and collapsed into two behavioral trait dimensions, behavioral traits had low repeatability and so did not contribute to a personality spectrum. Boldness was found to negatively influence the number of passage attempts carried out by an individual and to positively influence passage success, with bolder individuals carrying out fewer attempts and having an increased probability of passage success. No behavioral traits were found to be related to other passage metrics (passage success, Time until First Attempt, and Passage Duration) during the first passage. But all three behavioral traits were significantly negatively related to the changes in passage behaviors at consecutive, successful passage attempts, with bolder, more exploratory and more active individuals passing through a fishway quicker on the second passage than on the first. This study suggests that bolder and more active individuals may perform better during fishway passage attempts, particularly within rivers where multiple barriers to movement exist.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2021 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:13 July 2021
Date deposited:03 August 2021
Date of first online publication:01 August 2021
Date first made open access:03 August 2021

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