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Effect of turbidity on activity and habitat selection in juvenile plaice

Until the end of the first year of life, juvenile plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) occupy shallow water sandy habitats, which are often turbid. The behavioural responses of juvenile plaice to a controlled turbid environment were examined and although a clear pattern of cyclical activity with a tidal periodicity was evident, turbidity had no effect on activity levels or timing of increased activity.

Variable amounts of time were spent in both clear and turbid habitats but, given a choice, juvenile plaice were more likely to be found in turbid water. No effect of turbidity was identified on the depth of water occupied by the fish, although more pelagic swimming activity occurred during darkness in clear water, possibly as a means of predator avoidance. The presence of turbid waters in habitats occupied by juvenile plaice may be advantageous, as the reduced visibility decreases the likelihood of detection by visual predators.

Reported by

Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory
PA37 1QA Oban
United Kingdom
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