Hormonal responsiveness to stress is negatively associated with vulnerability to angling capture in fish

Michael J. Louison, Shivani Adhikari, Jeffrey A. Stein, Cory D. Suski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Differences in behavior and physiology amongst individuals often alter relative fitness levels in the environment. However, the ideal behavioral/physiological phenotype in a given environment may be altered by human activity, leading to an evolutionary response in the affected population. One example of this process can be found in fisheries (including recreational freshwater fisheries), where selective capture and harvest of individuals with certain phenotypes can drive evolutionary change. While some life history traits and behavioral tendencies influencing capture likelihood have been studied, the physiological mechanisms driving this vulnerability remain poorly understood. To address this, we assessed how two major physiological characteristics (hormonal responsiveness to stress and metabolic phenotype) and one behavioral characteristic (boldness) impact the likelihood of an individual being captured by anglers. Largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides, derived from a population artificially selected for differential angling vulnerability were assessed for boldness and for stress responsiveness (as indicated by plasma cortisol levels) following an air-exposure challenge. Largemouth bass were then stocked into a pond where experimental angling trials took place, and a subset of captured and uncaptured fish were afterwards assessed for metabolic phenotype. The results showed that stress responsiveness was the primary driver of angling vulnerability, with individuals that experienced lower rises in cortisol following the air-exposure challenge more likely to be captured. Neither boldness nor metabolic phenotype influenced capture probability. The results from this study indicate that fisheriesinduced selective pressure may act on physiology, potentially altering stress responsiveness and its associated behaviors in populations exploited by recreational anglers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2529-2535
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2017


  • Behavioral syndromes
  • Fisheries-induced evolution
  • Largemouth bass
  • Metabolic rate
  • Stress-coping style

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Hormonal responsiveness to stress is negatively associated with vulnerability to angling capture in fish'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this