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Does diurnal temperature variability affect growth in juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar?

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This study investigated the effects of diurnal temperature variability (>7° C) on the growth of 1+ year Atlantic salmon Salmo salar. Experimental manipulation of water temperature was used to simulate: (1) constant and (2) naturally varying thermal regimes with similar daily mean values. Data from two replicates of four treatments (two thermal and two feeding regimes) were collected over 6 months corresponding to the main spring to summer growth period. Fish growth was assessed at fortnightly intervals. Small but significant differences in mean fork length (LF) and mass were observed between temperature treatments, with smaller, lighter fish under the variable temperature regime. The effects of temperature regime on growth were independent of food ration. At termination of the experiment, the median LF and mass of fish exposed to the variable temperature regime were estimated, respectively, to be 2· 6 and 8· 0% less than those under the constant regime. Given the relatively small differences in growth attributable to variable temperature regime in these experiments, it is suggested that mean daily temperatures are adequate to inform juvenile growth models for field-based studies.
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Keywords: condition factor; food ration; mass; size; thermal variability

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Marine Scotland, Freshwater Laboratory, Faskally, Pitlochry, Perthshire PH16 5LB, U.K. 2: Northern Rivers Institute, School of Geosciences, University of Aberdeen, AB24 3UF Aberdeen, U.K. 3: Marine Scotland, Marine Laboratory, P. O. Box 101, 375, Victoria Road, Aberdeen AB11 9 DB, U.K.

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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