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Behavioral responses of juvenile weakfish (Cynoscion regalis) to diel-cycling hypoxia: swimming speed, angular correlation, expected displacement, and effects of hypoxia acclimation

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Areas of low flushing and high nutrient loading in shallow estuaries are susceptible to diel-cycling hypoxia and also represent important nursery habitat for juvenile estuary-dependent fishes. Swimming speed, angular correlation, and expected displacement were measured in juvenile weakfish (Cynoscion regalis) in response to diel-cycling hypoxia (cycling between 7.0 and 0.4mg O2·L–1). Saturation-acclimated (7.0mg O2·L–1) weakfish exhibited an active response by increasing swimming speed (to a maximum at 2.8mg O2·L–1) and angular correlation (to a maximum at 1.4mg O2·L–1) as dissolved oxygen (DO) decreased, after which weakfish exhibited a passive response and both swimming speed and angular correlation decreased by ~50% and 70%, respectively, at 0.4mg O2·L–1. Weakfish acclimated to hypoxia (cycling between 2.0 and 11.0mg O2·L–1 for 10days) did not vary swimming speed during decreasing DO or DO recovery (increasing DO) and had an overall swimming speed 46% lower than saturation-acclimated weakfish at 7.0mg O2·L–1. At the end of DO recovery, saturation- and hypoxia-acclimated weakfish had recovered 60% and 80% of their initial swimming speeds, respectively. The relationship between previous hypoxia exposure and behavior may be an important determinant of habitat utilization in estuarine nursery areas impacted by diel-cycling hypoxia.

Les zones de vidange réduite et d’apports importants de nutriments dans les estuaires peu profonds sont sujettes à une hypoxie à cycle journalier; ils représentent aussi des habitats de nourricerie précieux pour les jeunes chez les poissons associés aux estuaires. Nous avons mesuré la vitesse de nage, la corrélation angulaire et le déplacement attendu chez des jeunes acoupas royaux (Cynoscion regalis) en réaction à une hypoxie à cycle journalier (variant de 7,0 à 0,4 O2·L-1). Des acoupas acclimatés à la saturation (7,0 O2·L–1) réagissent de manière active en augmentant leur vitesse de nage (jusqu’à un maximum à 2,8 O2·L–1) et leur corrélation angulaire (jusqu’à un maximum à 1,4 O2·L–1) à mesure que l’oxygène dissous (OD) décroît, pour ensuite réagir passivement; la vitesse de nage et la corrélation angulaire décroissent alors respectivement de ~50% et de 70% à 0,4 O2·L–1. Les acoupas acclimatés à l’hypoxie (variant de 2,0 et 11,0 mg O2·L–1 pendant 10 jours) ne changent pas leur vitesse de nage durant la décroissance d’OD et la récupération d’OD (augmentation d’OD) et ont une vitesse globale de nage de 46% inférieure à celle des acoupas acclimatés à la saturation à 7,0 mg O2·L–1. À la fin du rétablissement d’OD, les acoupas acclimatés à la saturation et à l’hypoxie avaient récupéré respectivement 60% et 80% de leur vitesse initiale de nage. La relation entre l’exposition antérieure à l’hypoxie et le comportement peut être un facteur déterminant important de l’utilisation des zones estuariennes de nourricerie affectées par des cycles journaliers d’hypoxie.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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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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