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Just How Smart are Atlantic Salmon?

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A fascinating piece of new research asks some Atlantic salmon are smarter than others? Do they actually learn, or do they live by instinct alone?

 

Source: Atlantic Salmon Federation.


For many years it has been known that young Atlantic salmon raised in hatcheries survive in far lower numbers in the wild when compared with those growing up in streams from the time they are eggs.


Research published this week in Proceedings of the Royal Society Biology and reported HERE by the Atlantic Salmon Federation looked at the effect of making hatchery tanks more interesting for the Atlantic salmon and parr with pebble bottoms, numerous vertical artificial plants, etc that were moved around on a regular basis.


The results?


Salmon in the more ‘interesting’ tanks learned better and faster; there was increased physical brain development and some differences in which genes were switched on.


There are some hints, or at least speculation, that Atlantic salmon are life-long learners as well. When the Atlantic Salmon Federation’s own marine tracking research shows salmon from different rivers meeting before going through the narrow Strait of Belle Isle, and older and younger salmon passing through at same time, the question arises -  is teaching and learning on routes takng place?


The jury is out, but the question has been asked and salmon may just be a whole lot smarter than you thought!







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