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Research article2022Peer reviewedOpen access

Environmentally relevant concentration of caffeine-effect on activity and circadian rhythm in wild perch

Cerveny, Daniel; Cisar, Petr; Brodin, Tomas; McCallum, Erin S.; Fick, Jerker


We studied the ecological consequences of widespread caffeine contamination by conducting an experiment focused on changes in the behavioral traits of wild perch (Perca fluviatilis) after waterborne exposure to 10 mu g L-1 of caffeine. We monitored fish swimming performance during both light and dark conditions to study the effect of caffeine on fish activity and circadian rhythm, using a novel three-dimensional tracking system that enabled positioning even in complete darkness. All individuals underwent three behavioral trials-before exposure, after 24 h of exposure, and after 5 days of exposure. We did not observe any effect of the given caffeine concentration on fish activity under light or dark conditions. Regardless of caffeine exposure, fish swimming performance was significantly affected by both the light-dark conditions and repeating of behavioral trials. Individuals in both treatments swam significantly more during the light condition and their activity increased with time as follows: before exposure < after 24 h of exposure < after 5 days of exposure. We confirmed that the three-dimensional automated tracking system based on infrared sensors was highly effective for conducting behavioral experiments under completely dark conditions.


Coffee; Exposure; Fish; Behavior; Swimming; Mass spectrometry

Published in

Environmental Science and Pollution Research
2022, Volume: 29, number: 36, pages: 54264-54272