Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Salmon's body language tells all: Body language can be an indicator of stress or well-being in fish

Date:
September 15, 2010
Source:
The Research Council of Norway
Summary:
Automatic photo analysis may make it possible to continuously monitor and interpret fish behavior. Researchers in Norway have been collaborating on finding methods of measuring the stress levels and welfare of production fish. Cameras and automatic photo analysis were used to quantify behavior. This could open up possibilities for continuous monitoring of production fish in the future.

Happy as a fish in water: Behavior is an indication of fish welfare, new research finds.
Credit: iStockphoto/Lee Sutterby

Behaviour can be an indicator of stress or well-being in fish, new research confirms. Automatic photo analysis may make it possible to continuously monitor and interpret fish behaviour.

Researchers at the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen and Nofima Marin in Tromsψ have been collaborating on finding methods of measuring the stress levels and welfare of production fish.

"One aim of our project was to determine if fish behaviour could truly serve as an operational indicator of stress. We have now confirmed that," reports Tore S. Kristiansen, who headed the research project "Motivational states and coping ability as operational welfare indicators in farmed fish -- MORECARE."

The project, which received funding under the Research Council's HAVBRUK programme, is presented in the programme's latest newsletter ("Nytt fra HAVBRUK" no. 2/2010, available in Norwegian only).

Measuring the well-being of salmon and cod, however, is no simple matter. Fish express themselves differently from land animals -- it is not possible to judge the state of well-being of a salmon by its facial expressions.

Observing behavioural signs

"We measured the stress levels in salmon by how much cortisol they excreted into the water and by monitoring their oxygen consumption. Measuring cortisol in the water is expensive and time-consuming, so it's not feasible for producers. But the equipment and software used for quantifying oxygen consumption may be reasonably implemented into land-based aquaculture."

"For most producers, however, it's most practical to observe fish behaviour. Our research showed that following the fish behaviour -- either with video cameras or by trained persons observing -- could yield results just as good as those obtained by measuring cortisol or oxygen."

Blinking lights at feeding

In one aspect of the trials, researchers exposed the fish to a series of blinking lights half a minute before administering feed. This conditioned the fish to expect food after the lights appeared, which enabled observers to measure the strength of expectant behaviour and feeding motivation as the fish positioned themselves for feeding.

When the researchers stressed the fish by changing the tank-water temperature, for instance, or scrubbing the tank, they could then measure the stress reaction as behavioural changes in the fish. The duration of stress could be measured as well.

"Fish we did not expose to stress crowded together in the feeding area when they saw the blinking lights," explains Dr Kristiansen. "But fish that were anxious and stressed showed little or no expectant behaviour when they saw the lights."

Interpreting body language

Cameras and automatic photo analysis were used to quantify behaviour. This could open up possibilities for continuous monitoring of production fish in the future.

Both photo analysis and observation of fish body language may make it easier for animal technicians to interpret stress levels in fish. Personnel can tell whether or not the fish are stressed by observing differences in feeding behaviour, agitation in the form of rapid position changes, or fish crowding together at the floor or surface of the tank.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Research Council of Norway. The original article was written by Bεrd Amundsen; translation by Darren McKellep/Carol B. Eckmann. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Research Council of Norway. "Salmon's body language tells all: Body language can be an indicator of stress or well-being in fish." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100914074812.htm>.
The Research Council of Norway. (2010, September 15). Salmon's body language tells all: Body language can be an indicator of stress or well-being in fish. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100914074812.htm
The Research Council of Norway. "Salmon's body language tells all: Body language can be an indicator of stress or well-being in fish." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100914074812.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) — An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) — An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) — A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) — Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins