The acute temperature tolerance of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua): A comprehensive examination using multiple indices

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ConferenceWorld Aquaculture Society meeting, February 2007, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Subjectacute temperature tolerance; Atlantic cod; Gadus morhua
AbstractAlthough free swimming Atlantic cod held in thermally stratified water move to preferred temperatures, sea-caged fish are limited in their movement in the water column, and are thus exposed to large seasonal (~ 0 to 20oC) and daily (+ 10oC) temperature fluctuations in Atlantic Canada. Thermal biology and tolerance are important physiological traits that determine whether cod survive these temperature challenges, and define suitable areas for cage-site aquaculture production. Thus, we determined the acute thermal tolerance (both upper and sub-lethal) of cod of various life stages (juvenile to adult), whether thermal tolerance is plastic, and when various physiological systems are negatively impacted by high water temperatures. In our first experiment, we measured the critical thermal maximum (CTM) of 8 and 12oC acclimated juvenile cod, and 12oC acclimated juvenile haddock (a closely related gadoid preferring warmer temperatures) by increasing water temperature by 2oC h-1, while simultaneously measuring routine oxygen consumption (Rr)(Fig. 1). Acclimating cod to 12 vs 8oC increased the CTM from 21.4 to 23.0 oC, and the CTM of 12oC acclimated haddock was slightly higher than measured in cod (23.9oC) acclimated to the same temperature. Further, in all groups Rr plateaued approx. 2oC prior to the groups CTM. These data suggested that there is some, but limited, plasticity in the acute thermal tolerance of gadoids, and that cod experience sub-lethal stress approx. 2oC before CTM. We followed this initial experiment with measurements the CTM in 10oC adult cod, while simultaneously measuring both Rr and cardiovascular parameters. The CTM for these adult fish (22.2C) was similar to that measured for juvenile cod, when acclimation temperature is taken into account, and Rr and cardiac function were negatively influenced at 2 and 4oC, respectively, prior to CTM. Finally, we performed CTM experiments on 10 and 50 g cod, to examine the usefulness of plasma glucose and cortisol, and heat shock protein 70 (hsp 70) as indicators of thermal stress. Plasma cortisol levels showed an exponential increase with temperature, starting at approx. 16oC (~ 6oC prior to their CTM), although the max. levels achieved were very different between the two size classes (10g, ~200 ng ml-1; 50 g, ~ 450 ng ml-1). In contrast, neither plasma glucose, nor gill hsp 70 levels were useful indices of thermal stress. Plasma glucose levels varied considerably and were only significantly elevated at 22and we did not detect changes in constitutive or inducible hsp70 levels at any temperature using rabbit or salmonid specific antibodies.
Publication date
AffiliationNRC Institute for Marine Biosciences; National Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedNo
NRC numberNRCC 42648
NPARC number3538134
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Record identifier2777c4c5-cd64-458a-a718-8aad1b1de9fa
Record created2009-03-01
Record modified2017-07-27
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