Effects of turbidity on prey consumption and growth in brook trout and implications for bioenergetics modeling

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Abstract:

Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) were held in an artificial stream to observe the influence of turbidity on mean daily consumption and specific growth rates. Treatment turbidity levels ranged from clear (<3.0 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU)) to very turbid water (> 40 NTU). Observed mean daily specific consumption rates were standardized to the mean weight of all brook trout tested. Turbidity had no significant effect on mean daily consumption, but specific growth rates decreased significantly as turbidity increased. Brook trout in turbid water became more active and switched foraging strategies from drift feeding to active searching. This switch was energetically costly and resulted in lower specific growth rates in turbid water as compared with clear water. Bioenergetics simulations were run to compare observed growth with that predicted by the model. Observed growth values fell below those predicted by the model and the difference increased as turbidity increased. Abiotic factors, such as turbidity, which bring about changes in the activity rates of fish, can have implications for the accuracy of predicted growth by bioenergetics models.

Des Ombles de fontaine (Salvelinus fontinalis) en ruisseau artificiel ont servi à l'étude de l'effet de la turbidité sur la consommation moyenne quotidienne et les taux spécifiques de croissance. Les conditions d'élevage variaient d'une eau claire (< 3.0 unités néphélométriques, NTU) à une eau très turbide (> 40 NTU). Les taux spécifiques quotidiens moyens de consommation observés ont été corrigés pour tenir compte de la masse moyenne de tous les ombles étudiés. La turbidité reste sans effet significatif sur la consommation quotidienne moyenne; en revanche, les taux spécifiques de croissance déclinent lorsque la turbidité augmente. Les ombles s'activent plus dans les eaux turbides et changent leur stratégie de recherche de nourriture, délaissant l'alimentation dans la dérive pour une recherche active de proies. Ce changement s'avère coûteux en énergie et entraîne un taux spécifique de croissance moins élevé en eau turbide. Des simulations bioénergétiques ont permis de comparer la croissance observée avec celle prédite par le modèle. Les taux observés étaient inférieurs aux taux prédits par le modèle et la différence entre les taux croissait avec l'augmentation de la turbidité. Les facteurs abiotiques, tels la turbidité, qui modifient les taux d'activité des poissons, peuvent ainsi affecter la précision des prédictions des taux de croissance par les modèles bioénergétiques.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2001

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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