Current knowledge of the behavioural and physiological processes that regulate the interaction between environmental variations (both man-made and natural) and the ecology of animals (i.e. their abundance and distribution) is limited.
This knowledge is fundamental for understanding and predicting the effect of environmental disturbances on ecosystems, while its limitation is an obstacle to the development of specific environmental regulations. Turbidity and oxygen availability are two important environmental factors that are greatly affected by human activities along coasts.
We will examine the effect of turbidity and oxygen availability on ecologically relevant behaviours such as habitat selection, predator-prey interactions and aggregation. We will use modern methods integrating laboratory and field studies. As a result, we will determine experimentally the thresholds beyond which turbidity and oxygen saturation alter fish behavioural and/or physiological processes.
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