The present study investigated both the effects of cadmium on the social interactions of rainbow trout and the differential accumulation of waterborne cadmium among social ranks of fish. Fish exposed to waterborne cadmium concentrations of 2 μg l-1 for 24 h, followed by a 1, 2 or 3 day depuration period in clean water, had a decreased ability to compete with non-exposed fish. However, the competitive ability of exposed fish given a 5 day depuration period was not significantly impaired. Cadmium accumulated in the olfactory apparatus of fish exposed to waterborne cadmium for 24 h and decreased significantly only after 5 days depuration in clean water. Among groups of ten fish held in stream tanks, where all fish were exposed to cadmium, there were significant effects on social behaviour and growth rate. Dominance hierarchies formed faster among fish exposed to cadmium than among control fish, and overall growth rates were higher in the cadmium treatment. In groups of ten fish, social status also affected tissue accumulation of cadmium during waterborne exposure, with dominant fish accumulating more cadmium at the gill. In conclusion, exposure to low levels of cadmium, affects the social behaviour of fish, in part due to accumulation in the olfactory apparatus, and dominant fish accumulate more gill cadmium than subordinates during chronic waterborne exposure.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Aquatic Science