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Phenotypic plasticity in physiological status at emergence from nests as a response to temperature in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar)

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Successful transitions from relying on yolk to exogenous feeding may be strongly influenced by temperature conditions experienced both during embryonic development, through effects on juvenile phenotype, and during initiation of feeding. Here we simultaneously assess these two effects of temperature treatments (2, 5, 8, and 12 °C) in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). Fry emerging from low incubation temperatures were smaller and had metabolized more energy prior to emergence, but had larger yolk sacs and higher mass specific energy levels, than those experiencing higher temperatures. After emergence, activity, feeding, and growth increased significantly with increasing temperature, but fry were able to initiate feeding and maintain positive growth at all four temperatures. Larger energy stores may provide an advantage when emerging at cold temperatures with a low potential for feeding activity, whereas having a large body size, which is primarily of importance in competitive interactions, may be less important owing to cryptic feeding and sheltering at low temperatures. However, the adaptive significance of the observed phenotypic response to incubation temperature remains untested.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Centre for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway. 2: Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, Trondheim, Norway. 3: Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Uni Research, Thormøhlensgate 49, N-5006 Bergen, Norway.

Publication date: 2011-08-27

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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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