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Juvenile growth and aggression in diploid and triploid Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (Walbaum)

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Multilocus heterozygosity, aggressive and feeding behaviour, plasma cortisol levels and growth rate were evaluated among three groups of juvenile Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha: diploid, triploid and mixed groups of diploid and triploid fish. There was no difference between diploid and triploid fish in measurements of heterozygosity calculated using seven microsatellite loci, and these measurements did not correlate with performance measurements including feeding rate and growth rate. Aggression trials that examined small groups of fish revealed that after 4 days together in tanks, triploid fish were significantly less aggressive during feeding than diploid fish or fish in mixed groups. At the end of the trials, however, plasma cortisol levels did not differ among the three groups. Thirty-day growth trials in duplicate tanks of 60 fish revealed no difference in growth rate among diploid, triploid and mixed groups, but plasma cortisol levels were significantly lower in triploid fish than in either diploid fish or the mixed fish. Overall, independent of the above differences in aggressive behaviour and cortisol levels, these results suggest similar performance in diploid and triploid Chinook salmon, and thus provide support for the viability of triploid Chinook salmon culture in commercial aquaculture.
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Keywords: aggressive behaviour; cortisol; heterosis; heterozygosity; social stress; triploidy

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 5B7 Canada 2: Department of Integrative Biology, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1 Canada

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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