ABS 2022
Sex dependent behavioral responses to nitrate in Xiphophorus helleri
Madison Parker, Meredith Fitschen-Brown, Molly Morris. Ohio University , Athens, Ohio, United States

Increased nitrate levels have been found in surface waters due to agriculture. Nitrate has been found to be an endocrine disruptor, however not much is known about its impact on the behavior of fishes. We examined the potential for return to base line levels after a 30-day exposure to nitrate (100 mg/L) for three behaviors: aggression, boldness and female mate preference. Individuals exposed to nitrates and controls that only experienced water changes were assayed for all three behaviors before, during, after exposure. We found that male aggression was reduced due to nitrate, a response that was not plastic. Female aggression was not influenced by nitrates, but was influenced by water changes, a response that was plastic. Boldness was reduced in males exposed to nitrates and in females increased due to nitrate exposure, and for both sexes the responses of boldness were not plastic. Strength of female mate preference for large males was not influenced by nitrates. Our results suggest that the impacts of nitrate exposure on fish behaviors will depend on sex as well as the behavior measured, and are less likely to be plastic as compared to other nonchemical stressors.