The behavioural repertoire of arctic charr (salvelinus alpinus(l.)) in captivity: a case study for testing ethogram completeness and reducing observer effects
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Bolgan, Marta; O'Brien, Joanne; Gammell, Martin (2015). The behavioural repertoire of arctic charr (salvelinus alpinus(l.)) in captivity: a case study for testing ethogram completeness and reducing observer effects. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 25 (2), 318-328
In the last 20years, research has been directed towards possible differences in the mating behaviour of species belonging to the Salmonidae family that may reproductively isolate wild populations from escaped hatchery or farmed fish. Despite these studies, a detailed description of the overall behavioural repertoire of Salmonidae species from wild and farmed environments is still lacking. Furthermore, although Arctic charr has been described as the most variable between all vertebrate species, possible behavioural plasticity outside of the breeding season has not been widely investigated, and a complete ethogram for Arctic charr not in breeding condition is currently unavailable. This study presents the first complete ethogram of captive Arctic charr behaviour outside of the breeding season. The completeness of this ethogram was validated based on the Behavioural Accumulation Curves methodology, a reliable and easy to use tool for assessing the best compromise between sampling effort and ethogram completeness. Additionally, a new way of presenting an ethogram has been proposed and validated using a dichotomous key to describe behaviour types. This proved to be a more effective operational tool for identifying Arctic charr behaviour than the ethogram. The dichotomous key of behaviour led to a significantly less ambiguous identification of behavioural units, thus reducing observer, recording errors and enhancing accuracy. This study therefore represents an effective step forward to a more in-depth and rigorous comparison of Arctic charr behavioural adaptation between and within artificial and natural settings.