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Optimum and maximum temperatures of sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) populations hatched at different temperatures

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Temperature tolerance and heart rates were compared among nine sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka (Walbaum in Artedi, 1792)) populations, whose eggs were incubated at 10, 14, and 16 °C before rearing all hatchlings at a common temperature. Critical thermal maximum (CTmax) significantly differed among populations and temperature treatments. Populations with shorter migration distance and a lower migration and spawning temperature tended to have higher CTmax at 90 days posthatch. However, the relationship was reversed when fish of similar size were compared at 135–214 days posthatch. CTmax at 90 days posthatch was also positively related to body mass, which differed appreciably among populations at this development stage. With growth, the population differences in CTmax diminished from 3.1 to 1 °C. Elevated incubation temperature also decreased CTmax. Arrhenius breakpoint temperature (ABT) for maximum heart rate differed among populations incubated at 14 °C. The Chilko Lake population, which rear at 1.2 km above sea level, had the highest heart rate across all temperatures when incubated at 14 °C, but the lowest ABT among populations. This study provides clear evidence for the local adaptation among sockeye salmon populations with respect to temperature tolerance and cardiac capacity, information that adds to the debate on whether intraspecific variance is adaptive, or a constraint, or both.

Keywords: Arrhenius breakpoint; Oncorhynchus nerka; adaptation; critical thermal maximum; developmental plasticity; différences entre populations; fréquence cardiaque maximum; incubation; maximum heart rate; optimum temperature; plasticité du développement; point d’inflexion du diagramme d’Arrhenius; population differences; saumon rouge; sockeye salmon; température maximale critique; température optimale

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, The University of British Columbia, 6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada. 2: Department of Forest Sciences, The University of British Columbia, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada.

Publication date: 2013-03-12

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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