Anti-predatory responses of a native scallop species to the introduced Northern Pacific sea star (#580)
Introduced species can have devastating impacts on native ecosystems and cause evolutionary shifts in a range of life history and behavioural traits. In particular, introduced predators are often able to exploit novel prey sources that lack anti-predatory escape responses. If native species fail to evolve and adapt to the invasive species, local extinction can occur. However, if native species are capable of responding evolutionarily, or through learned behavioural responses, the impact of invaders can be reduced and may allow the coexistence between introduced and native species. Here we explore the anti-predatory behaviour of the native scallop, Pecten fumatus, to the introduced predatory Northern Pacific sea star (Asterias amurensis). Escape response trials were conducted using scallops from populations with 20 years of exposure to the sea star and with scallops with no history of exposure. We found a significant difference in the anti-predatory response of exposed and non-exposed populations, suggesting that exposed populations may have evolved novel anti-predatory responses over a relatively short time period.