Social learning of prey location in hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon

C. Brown*, A. Markula, K. Laland

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Naïve, hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon Salmo salar parr were paired with demonstrators that had been pre-trained to accept live prey from the surface or from the benthos. After 6 days of observing demonstrators through a clear perspex partition the naïve fish's benthic foraging skills were tested. The results revealed that hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon can be taught to target benthic prey items by observation alone and social learning protocols can be utilized to dramatically increase benthic foraging success. The results are discussed with reference to refining hatchery-rearing practices with a view to improving the post-release survival of hatchery fishes. The role of learning, and in particular social learning, in the development foraging behaviour is highlighted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-745
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Fish Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Atlantic salmon
  • Benthos
  • Hatchery
  • Prey location
  • Social learning

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