The study of the impact of an animal's behaviour on its life-history or its adaptation to a special niche yields important insights into the mechanisms of the evolution of behaviour. My particular choice was to study the behaviour of juvenile atlantic salmon in an artificial stream tank. The phenomenon that suggested these studies is the fact that some of the wild salmon develop faster than their conspecifics in the same stream and consequently migrate to the sea a year before them. What is different in these animals? Why do they grow faster? Are they more territorial or aggressive? Do they have a higher food conversion rate? Together with Chris Cutts from the field station of the University of Glasgow at Rowardennan in Scotland, I introduced batches of salmon parr into an artificial stream tank and studied metabolic rate, aggressive and feeding behaviour as well as prior residence effects on territoriality in these small fish. The work is published in the Journal of Fish Biology:
Cutts C.J., Brembs B., Metcalfe N.B. & Taylor A.C. (1999): Prior residence, territory quality and life-history strategies in juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.). J. Fish Biol. 55(4), 784-794.