Warming temperatures and ectoparasitic sea lice impair internal organs in juvenile Atlantic salmon
Medcalf, K. E., Hutchings, J. A., Fast, M. D., Kuparinen, A., & Godwin, S. C. (2021). Warming temperatures and ectoparasitic sea lice impair internal organs in juvenile Atlantic salmon. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 660, 161-169. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13610
Published inMarine Ecology Progress Series
© 2021 the Authors
As a consequence of climate change and open net-pen salmon farming, wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar are increasingly likely to encounter elevated temperatures and parasite abundances during their early marine migration. Such stressors can compromise fitness by diminishing liver energy stores and impairing cardiac muscle. To assess whether temperature and infestation by salmon lice Lepeophtheirus salmonis are important correlates of liver energy stores and cardiac muscle performance in juvenile salmon, we experimentally infested fish at 3 abundances of louse infestation (zero, low, and high) and 5 temperatures (10, 13, 16, 19, and 22°C). At the end of the experiment (i.e. when sea lice reached adulthood), we calculated the percent dry weight of the liver (%DWL; a proxy for liver energy stores) and cardiosomatic index (CSI; a proxy for cardiac muscle performance) of each fish and fitted 5 linear mixed-effects models to both of these responses. For both %DWL and CSI, the best-supported model included additive fixed effects for both infestation level and temperature. Our top models predicted that, relative to zero infestation, high infestation reduces %DWL by 5.7% (95% CI: 5.3-6.2%) and increases CSI by 15.9% (14.4-18.0%), and low infestation reduces %DWL by 2.6% (2.2-3.0%) and increases CSI by 7.8% (6.7-10.0%). Our work suggests that stressors associated with ocean warming and coastal salmon aquaculture can compromise wild salmon fitness through the impairment of vital organs. ...
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Related funder(s)European Commission
The content of the publication reflects only the author’s view. The funder is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Additional information about fundingThis research was funded by a Liber Ero Postdoctoral Fellowship (to S.C.G.), an Atlantic Salmon Conservation Foundation Research Grant (to S.C.G. and J.A.H.), 2 Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Discovery Grants (to J.A.H. [170146-2013] and A.K. [04249-2015]), the Academy of Finland (to A.K.), and the European Research Council (COMPLEX-FISH 770884 to A.K.). The present study reflects only the authors’ views; the European Research Council is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains ...
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