Elevated carbon dioxide has limited acute effects on Lepomis macrochirus behaviour

J. A. Tix, C. T. Hasler, C. Sullivan, J. D. Jeffrey, C. D. Suski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The current study investigated the behavioural response of Lepomis macrochirus following exposures to elevated carbon dioxide (CO2). For this, L. macrochirus were held at ambient pCO2 (160 μatm pCO2) for 7 days, then exposed to elevated pCO2 (8300 μatm pCO2) for 5 days, and then returned to ambient conditions for a further 5 days to recover. At the end of each exposure period, several behavioural metrics were quantified (boldness, lateralization and activity). Data showed no change in lateralization and most metrics associated with performance and boldness. During the boldness test, however, average velocity, velocity in the thigmotaxis (outer) zone and proportion of activity in the thigmotaxis zone increased with pCO2 exposure. During post-exposure, average velocity of L. macrochirus decreased. In addition, individual rank was repeatable during the pre-exposure and post-exposure period in three of the 17 metrics investigated (average velocity in the middle zone, average velocity near object and total shuttles to the object zone), but not during the CO2 exposure period, suggesting that elevated pCO2 disrupted some behavioural performances. Overall, this study found elevated pCO2 caused disruption to behaviours of freshwater fishes such as L. macrochirus and effects do not appear to be as serious as has been shown for marine fishes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)751-772
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • acidification
  • bluegill
  • boldness
  • climate change
  • fresh water
  • lateralization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Elevated carbon dioxide has limited acute effects on Lepomis macrochirus behaviour'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this