Dataset for: Sensory environment affects Icelandic threespine stickleback's anti-predator escape behaviour
Ålund, Murielle (2022), Dataset for: Sensory environment affects Icelandic threespine stickleback's anti-predator escape behaviour, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.70rxwdc0b
Human-induced changes in climate and habitats push populations to adapt to novel environments, including new sensory conditions, such as reduced visibility. We studied how colonizing newly formed glacial lakes with turbidity-induced low visibility affects anti-predator behaviour in Icelandic threespine sticklebacks. We tested nearly 400 fish from 15 populations and four habitat types varying in visibility and colonization history in their reaction to two predator cues (mechano-visual versus olfactory) in high versus low visibility light treatments. Fish reacted differently to the cues and were affected by lighting environment, confirming that cue modality and light levels are important for predator detection and evasion. Spring-fed fish, especially from the highlands (likely more diverged from marine fish than lowland fish) reacted fastest to mechano-visual cues and were generally most active. Highland glacial fish showed strong responses to olfactory cues and, counter to predictions from the flexible stem hypothesis, the greatest plasticity in response to light levels. This study, leveraging natural, repeated invasions of novel sensory habitats, 1) illustrates rapid changes in antipredator behaviour that follow due to adaptation, early life experience, or both, and 2) suggests an additional role for behavioural plasticity enabling population persistence in the face of frequent changes in environmental conditions.