Rapid carbon turnover during growth of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) smolts in sea water, and evidence for reduced food consumption by growth-stunts.
Jardine, T.D., MacLatchy, D.L., Fairchild, W.L., Cunjak, R.A. and Brown, S.B.
published: 2004 | Research publication | 2004
Wild Atlantic salmon smolts were captured during spring out-migration in the Northwest Miramichi River, New Brunswick, Canada, and placed on an isotopically distinct hatchery diet to determine the relative contributions of growth and metabolic turnover to isotopic change. As expected for an ectothermic species, growth explained a large amount of isotopic variation in changing stable carbon ratios of muscle tissue (average r 2= 0.46 ) for the 3 years of study. Turnover rates of muscle carbon in all 3 years in growing fish (0.24–0.66 month–1) were higher than previously reported values for other ectothermic species, but there was little evidence for isotopic change in non-growers (average r 2= 0.041, p > 0.1). It is unlikely that non-growers had consumed any of the hatchery diet over a 2-month period, thus preventing them from acquiring the new carbon isotopic signature. This period of food deprivation resulted in nitrogen-15 enrichment in liver relative to muscle (p= 0.003). It is advised that future isotope studies of metabolic turnover rates in ectotherms be conducted on slow-growing animals over a long time period. This would serve to avoid the obscuring effects of growth on isotopic change, and provide stronger comparisons to endothermic tissue turnover rates.
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