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The use of ventilation frequency as an accurate indicator of metabolic rate in juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

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Bioenergetics studies of free-living animals have long been hampered by limitations on our abilities to measure the energy costs of different activities. Here we evaluate whether it is possible to use the opercular ventilatory beat rate of a fish to estimate its rate of energy expenditure. Changes in metabolic rate (MR) and ventilation rate (VR) were recorded in yearling Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar, weight range 1.8–12.64 g) engaged in different activities at different temperatures while within a respirometer. MR was found to correlate strongly with VR in all fish. The relationship was linear, and both the slope and corresponding intercept of the regression equation were strongly dependent on the fish’s body weight and the test temperature. From these relationships, a general equation was generated to predict MR at a range of temperatures from knowledge of a fish’s weight and its VR; this proved to be highly accurate (correlation between predicted and observed MRs: r = 0.95), although calibration of individual fish is recommended in studies that compare performance of individuals. Visual measurements of VR may therefore provide a highly accurate, cheap, and noninvasive method of measuring the energy consumption of fish engaged in natural behaviours in more natural settings.

Les études bioénergétiques d’animaux en liberté ont longtemps été restreintes par l’impossibilité de mesurer les coûts énergétiques des différentes activités. Nous vérifions ici s’il est possible d’utiliser le taux de battement de ventilation des opercules d’un poisson pour mesurer son taux de dépense d’énergie. Nous avons enregistré dans un respiromètre les changements de taux métabolique (MR) et de taux de ventilation (VR) de saumons atlantiques (Salmo salar, étendue des masses 1,8 – 12,64 g) d’un an durant diverses activités à différentes températures. Il y a une forte corrélation entre MR et VR chez tous les poissons. La relation est linéaire et la pente et l’ordonnée à l’origine correspondante de l’équation de régression sont toutes deux fortement dépendantes de la masse corporelle du poisson et de la température expérimentale. À partir de ces relations, nous avons élaboré une équation générale pour prédire MR sur une gamme de températures d’après la masse du poisson et son VR. L’équation est très précise (corrélation entre les MRs prédits et observés: r = 0,95), bien nous recommandions de calibrer chacun des poissons lors d’études qui comparent les performances individuelles. Les mesures visuelles de VR peuvent ainsi constituer une méthode très précise, peu coûteuse et non effractive de déterminer la consommation d’énergie chez des poissons en train d’accomplir des comportements normaux dans des environnements plus naturels.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • 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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