Behaviour 2019
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Early life interactions with aquatic insects elicits behavioral stress responses in lake sturgeon
Lydia Wassink, Joseph Riedy, Belinda Huerta, Garrett Johnson, Douglas Larson, Weiming Li, Kim Scribner. Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, United States

Predator encounters during early life can elicit behavioral and physiological responses that have fitness consequences during subsequent life stages.  In threatened lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), newly hatched larvae are exposed to predators that co-occupy stream substrates.  We investigated stress effects on lake sturgeon larvae mortality, body size, and cortisol levels after exposure to either Perlidae (predators) or Isonychiidae (filterers) or no predators (controls).  Sturgeon that encountered perlids experienced high mortality, elevated cortisol levels, and exhibited cortisol reactivity when subsequently exposed to an acute stressor.  Sturgeon that encountered isonychiids exhibited slight elevations in mortality, cortisol, and reactivity.  Findings indicate that lake sturgeon larvae are stressed by exposure to aquatic insect predators during early life stages.  We determined that behavioral outcomes associated with encounters with aquatic insects alter future behavioral trajectories, potentially as an adaptive response.