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Evolutionary ecology
Masters project

Does environmental enrichment affect aggression in salmon?

Silje has finished the behaviour experiments for her Masters project

Plastic container filled with water
Experimental arena used for testing aggression in salmon.
Photo:
Silje Elvatun Sikveland

Silje Elvatun Sikveland recently finished collecting the data needed for her thesis. She is examining whether salmon (Salmo salar) fry from an enriched environment are more aggressive and have a more dominant behaviour than fry from a plain environment. To study aggressive behaviour, pairs of salmon from the two different environments were placed in an arena where they competed over a food item. The interactions between the fishes were recorded on camera. Before trials the fishes were size-matched and weighed before and after competition in the arena. All tests were video recorded.

Her next step will be to analyse all videos. The aim is to try to quantify aggressive behaviours. She will also examine whether behaviours could be associated with territorial defence and competition for food. 

The thesis is supervised by Anne Gro Vea SalvanesKnut Helge Jensen and Arne Skorping.