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Welcome to the interactive web schedule for the 2019 Midwest Fish & Wildlife Conference! The schedule is subject to change (as of November 7, 2018). Please check back for updates. To return to the main Conference website, go to: www.midwestfw.org.

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Monday, January 28 • 11:00am - 11:20am
(FISHERIES: BEHAVIOR & PHYSIOLOGY) Investigating the Influence of Turbidity on the Diet and Coloration of an African Cichlid Fish

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AUTHORS: Tiffany Atkinson, Suzanne M. Gray – The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT: One of the most deleterious stressors on aquatic systems is elevated turbidity (i.e. concentration of suspended particulates in a body of water) resulting from human activities. In turbid waters, fish struggle to perceive visual cues, especially those associated with foraging (e.g. finding prey items) and reproduction (e.g. colorful nuptial displays). Thus, we expect foraging behaviors to be altered with some prey being less detectable under turbid conditions. In addition, in many fishes, females prefer males with more saturated red and yellow (carotenoid-based) nuptial coloration, as indicators of high male fitness. However, fish are unable to synthesize carotenoid-based pigments, thus they rely solely on their diet for these red and yellow nuptial displays. We evaluated the influence of turbidity on the diet and male coloration of an African cichlid (Pseudocrenilabrus multicolor victoriae) across a gradient of degraded water quality. Wild-caught, male P. multicolor from low turbidity sites, within an agricultural zone, displayed significantly more carotenoid-based coloration than males from high turbidity sites, with standard length as a significant covariate. However, we found that prey availability (based on point-in-time macroinvertebrate sampling) was similar across turbidity levels. Diet analyses will allow us to determine if turbidity caused a behavioral shift in foraging and will reveal if carotenoid uptake varies across sites. Our results can inform future land-use decisions to maintain viable African fisheries and conservation of aquatic biodiversity.

Monday January 28, 2019 11:00am - 11:20am