for Journals by Title or ISSN
for Articles by Keywords
Followed Journals
Journal you Follow: 0
Sign Up to follow journals, search in your chosen journals and, optionally, receive Email Alerts when new issues of your Followed Journals are published.
Already have an account? Sign In to see the journals you follow.
Journal Cover Conservation Physiology
  [1 followers]  Follow
  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
   ISSN (Online) 2051-1434
   Published by Oxford University Press Homepage  [358 journals]
  • A paradox in individual-based models of populations

    • Authors: van der Meer; J.
      Abstract: The standard dynamic energy budget model is widely used to describe the physiology of individual animals. It assumes that assimilation rate scales with body surface area, whereas maintenance rate scales with body volume. When the model is used as the building block of a population model, only limited dynamical behaviour, the so-called juvenile-driven cycles, emerges. The reason is that in the model juveniles are competitively superior over adults, because juveniles have a higher surface area-to-volume ratio. Maintenance requirements for adults are therefore relatively large, and a reduced assimilation rate as a result of lowered food levels will easily become insufficient. Here, an alternative dynamic energy budget model is introduced that gives rise to adult-driven cycles, which may be closer to what is often observed in reality. However, this comes at the price of a rather odd description of the individual, in that maintenance scales with body area and assimilation rate with body volume, resulting in unbounded exponential body growth. I make a plea to solve the paradox and come up with reliable descriptions at both the individual and the population level.
      PubDate: 2016-06-29T06:42:45-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow023
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Endocrine responses to diverse stressors of capture, entanglement and
           stranding in leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea)

    • Authors: Hunt, K. E; Innis, C. J, Merigo, C, Rolland, R. M.
      Abstract: Leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea) are exposed to many anthropogenic stressors, yet almost no data on stress physiology exist for this species. As a first step toward understanding the physiological responses of leatherback turtles to stress, and with the particular goal of assessment of the effect of capture, we quantified corticosterone (an adrenal stress hormone) and thyroxine (a regulator of metabolic rate, often inhibited by chronic stress) in 17 healthy leatherback turtles captured at sea for scientific study, with comparisons to 15 ‘distressed’ leatherbacks that were found entangled in fishing gear (n = 8), confined in a weir net (n = 1) or stranded on shore (n = 6). Distressed leatherbacks had significantly elevated corticosterone (mean ± SEM 10.05 ± 1.72 ng/ml, median 8.38 ng/ml) and free thyroxine (mean 0.86 ± 0.37 pg/ml, median 0.08 pg/ml) compared with healthy leatherbacks sampled immediately before release (after ~40 min of handling; corticosterone, mean 4.97 ± 0.62 ng/ml, median 5.21 ng/ml; and free thyroxine, mean 0.05 ± 0.05 pg/ml, median 0.00 pg/ml). The elevated thyroxine in distressed turtles compared with healthy turtles might indicate an energetic burden of entanglement and stranding. Six of the healthy leatherbacks were sampled twice, at ~25 and ~50 min after the time of first disturbance. In all six individuals, corticosterone was higher in the later sample (earlier sample, mean 2.74 ± 0.88 ng/ml, median 2.61 ng/ml; later sample, mean 5.43 ± 1.29 ng/ml, median 5.38 ng/ml), indicating that capture and handling elicit an adrenal stress response in this species. However, the corticosterone elevation after capture appeared relatively mild compared with the corticosterone concentrations of the entangled and stranded turtles. The findings suggest that capture and handling using the protocols described (e.g. capture duration
      PubDate: 2016-06-29T06:42:45-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow022
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Methodological considerations for measuring glucocorticoid metabolites in

    • Authors: Berk, S. A; McGettrick, J. R, Hansen, W. K, Breuner, C. W.
      Abstract: In recent years, researchers have begun to use corticosteroid metabolites in feathers (fCORT) as a metric of stress physiology in birds. However, there remain substantial questions about how to measure fCORT most accurately. Notably, small samples contain artificially high amounts of fCORT per millimetre of feather (the small sample artefact). Furthermore, it appears that fCORT is correlated with circulating plasma corticosterone only when levels are artificially elevated by the use of corticosterone implants. Here, we used several approaches to address current methodological issues with the measurement of fCORT. First, we verified that the small sample artefact exists across species and feather types. Second, we attempted to correct for this effect by increasing the amount of methanol relative to the amount of feather during extraction. We consistently detected more fCORT per millimetre or per milligram of feather in small samples than in large samples even when we adjusted methanol:feather concentrations. We also used high-performance liquid chromatography to identify hormone metabolites present in feathers and measured the reactivity of these metabolites against the most commonly used antibody for measuring fCORT. We verified that our antibody is mainly identifying corticosterone (CORT) in feathers, but other metabolites have significant cross-reactivity. Lastly, we measured faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in house sparrows and correlated these measurements with corticosteroid metabolites deposited in concurrently grown feathers; we found no correlation between faecal glucocorticoid metabolites and fCORT. We suggest that researchers should be cautious in their interpretation of fCORT in wild birds and should seek alternative validation methods to examine species-specific relationships between environmental challenges and fCORT.
      PubDate: 2016-06-14T08:06:30-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow020
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Feather and faecal corticosterone concentrations predict future
           reproductive decisions in harlequin ducks (Histrionicus histrionicus)

    • Authors: Hansen, W. K; Bate, L. J, Landry, D. W, Chastel, O, Parenteau, C, Breuner, C. W.
      Abstract: Understanding sources of reproductive variation can inform management and conservation decisions, population ecology and life-history theory. Annual reproductive variation can drive population growth rate and can be influenced by factors from across the annual cycle (known as carry-over effects). The majority of studies, however, focus solely on the role of current environmental events. Past events often influence future reproductive decisions and success but can be logistically difficult to collect and quantify, especially in migratory species. Recent work indicates that glucocorticoids may prove good indicators to evaluate carry-over effects across life-history transitions. Here, we evaluated three different measures of glucocorticoid physiology (feathers, faeces and plasma) to evaluate the predictability of future breeding decision in the harlequin duck (Histrionicus histrionicus). We collected tail and back feathers, plasma and faeces for glucocorticoid analysis, and fitted female harlequin ducks with very high-frequency transmitters to track their breeding decisions. Both back feathers (moulted immediately before the current season) and faecal glucocorticoid metabolites were identified as important predictive factors of reproductive decisions; high concentrations of glucocorticoid metabolites in back feathers and faeces predicted a higher likelihood of reproductive deferral for the year. Although back and tail feather corticosterone concentrations were correlated, tail feathers (moulted at the end of the previous breeding season) did not predict breeding decisions. Plasma corticosterone concentrations were collected over too broad a time range after capture to be useful in this study. This study demonstrates the utility of non-invasive corticosterone metrics in predicting breeding decisions and supports the use of feathers to measure carry-over effects in migratory birds. With this technique, we identified the prenuptial moult as an important life-history phase that contributes to reproductive decisions. Identification of critical life-history phases is paramount to efficient management of species.
      PubDate: 2016-06-14T08:06:30-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow015
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Partitioning the metabolic scope: the importance of anaerobic metabolism
           and implications for the oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance
           (OCLTT) hypothesis

    • Authors: Ejbye-Ernst, R; Michaelsen, T. Y, Tirsgaard, B, Wilson, J. M, Jensen, L. F, Steffensen, J. F, Pertoldi, C, Aarestrup, K, Svendsen, J. C.
      Abstract: Ongoing climate change is predicted to affect the distribution and abundance of aquatic ectotherms owing to increasing constraints on organismal physiology, in particular involving the metabolic scope (MS) available for performance and fitness. The oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance (OCLTT) hypothesis prescribes MS as an overarching benchmark for fitness-related performance and assumes that any anaerobic contribution within the MS is insignificant. The MS is typically derived from respirometry by subtracting standard metabolic rate from the maximal metabolic rate; however, the methodology rarely accounts for anaerobic metabolism within the MS. Using gilthead sea bream (Sparus aurata) and Trinidadian guppy (Poecilia reticulata), this study tested for trade-offs (i) between aerobic and anaerobic components of locomotor performance; and (ii) between the corresponding components of the MS. Data collection involved measuring oxygen consumption rate at increasing swimming speeds, using the gait transition from steady to unsteady (burst-assisted) swimming to detect the onset of anaerobic metabolism. Results provided evidence of the locomotor performance trade-off, but only in S. aurata. In contrast, both species revealed significant negative correlations between aerobic and anaerobic components of the MS, indicating a trade-off where both components of the MS cannot be optimized simultaneously. Importantly, the fraction of the MS influenced by anaerobic metabolism was on average 24.3 and 26.1% in S. aurata and P. reticulata, respectively. These data highlight the importance of taking anaerobic metabolism into account when assessing effects of environmental variation on the MS, because the fraction where anaerobic metabolism occurs is a poor indicator of sustainable aerobic performance. Our results suggest that without accounting for anaerobic metabolism within the MS, studies involving the OCLTT hypothesis could overestimate the metabolic scope available for sustainable activities and the ability of individuals and species to cope with climate change.
      PubDate: 2016-06-03T23:40:31-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow019
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Assessment of faecal glucocorticoid metabolite excretion in captive female
           fishing cats (Prionailurus viverinus) in Thailand

    • Authors: Khonmee, J; Vorawattanatham, N, Pinyopummin, A, Thitaram, C, Somgird, C, Punyapornwithaya, V, Brown, J. L.
      Abstract: There is little information on the endocrinology of fishing cats (Prionailurus viverinus), an endangered species in Southeast Asia, especially that pertaining to adrenal function. This study characterized faecal glucocorticoid metabolites in female fishing cats housed at Chiang Mai Night Safari to investigate seasonal and age relationships in hormone patterns. Faecal samples were collected 3 days/week for 1 year from seven females ranging in age from 4.5 to 9.6 years. A corticosterone enzyme immunoassay was validated for fishing cats by showing increases (~60%) in faecal glucocorticoid immunoactivity above pre-treatment baseline levels within 1–2 days after an adrenocorticotrophic hormone injection. Faecal glucocorticoid metabolite concentrations were not related to age (P > 0.05), but there was a seasonal effect, with concentrations being higher (P 
      PubDate: 2016-06-02T00:45:42-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow021
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Condition-dependent migratory behaviour of endangered Atlantic salmon
           smolts moving through an inland sea

    • Authors: Crossin, G. T; Hatcher, B. G, Denny, S, Whoriskey, K, Orr, M, Penney, A, Whoriskey, F. G.
      Abstract: The Bras d’Or Lake watershed of Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada is a unique inland sea ecosystem, UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and home to a group of regionally distinct Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) populations. Recent population decreases in this region have raised concern about their long-term persistence. We used acoustic telemetry to track the migrations of juvenile salmon (smolts) from the Middle River into the Bras d’Or Lake and, subsequently, into the Atlantic Ocean. Roughly half of the tagged smolts transited the Bras d’Or Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean, using a migration route that took them through the Gulf of St Lawrence’s northern exit at the Strait of Belle Isle (~650 km from the home river) towards feeding areas in the Labrador Sea and Greenland. However, a significant fraction spent >70 days in the Lakes, suggesting that this population has an alternative resident form, in which smolts limit their migrations within the Bras d’Or. Smolts in good relative condition (as determined from length-to-mass relationships) tended to be residents, whereas fish in poorer condition were ocean migrants. We also found a covarying effect of river temperature that helped to predict residence vs. ocean migration. We discuss these results relative to their bioenergetic implications and provide suggestions for future studies aimed at the conservation of declining salmon populations in Canada.
      PubDate: 2016-05-23T18:05:37-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow018
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Small pelagics in a changing ocean: biological responses of sardine early
           stages to warming

    • Authors: Faleiro, F; Pimentel, M, Pegado, M. R, Bispo, R, Lopes, A. R, Diniz, M. S, Rosa, R.
      Abstract: Small pelagic fishes are known to respond rapidly to changes in ocean climate. In this study, we evaluate the effects of future environmental warming (+2°C) during the early ontogeny of the European sardine, Sardina pilchardus. Warming reduced the survival of 30-day-old larvae by half. Length at hatching increased with temperature as expected, but no significant effect was observed on the length and growth at 30 days post-hatching. Warming did not significantly affect the thermal tolerance of sardine larvae, even though the mean lethal temperature increased by 1°C. In the warm conditions, sardine larvae showed signs of thermal stress, indicated by a pronounced increase in larval metabolism (Q 10 = 7.9) and a 45% increase in the heat shock response. Lipid peroxidation was not significantly affected by the higher temperature, even though the mean value doubled. Warming did not affect the time larvae spent swimming, but decreased by 36% the frequency of prey attacks. Given the key role of these small pelagics in the trophic dynamics off the Western Iberian upwelling ecosystem, the negative effects of warming on the early stages may have important implications for fish recruitment and ecosystem structure.
      PubDate: 2016-05-17T19:45:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow017
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Stress hormone levels in a freshwater turtle from sites differing in human

    • Authors: Polich; R. L.
      Abstract: Glucocorticoids, such as corticosterone (CORT), commonly serve as a measure of stress levels in vertebrate populations. These hormones have been implicated in regulation of feeding behaviour, locomotor activity, body mass, lipid metabolism and other crucial behaviours and physiological processes. Thus, understanding how glucocorticoids fluctuate seasonally and in response to specific stressors can yield insight into organismal health and the overall health of populations. I compared circulating CORT concentrations between two similar populations of painted turtle, Chrysemys picta, which differed primarily in the level of exposure to human recreational activities. I measured basal CORT concentrations as well as the CORT stress response and did not find any substantive difference between the two populations. This similarity may indicate that painted turtles are not stressed by the presence of humans during the nesting season. The results of this study contribute to our understanding of CORT concentrations in freshwater reptiles, a group that is historically under-represented in studies of circulating hormone concentrations; specifically, studies that seek to use circulating concentrations of stress hormones, such as CORT, as a measure of the effect of human activities on wild populations. They also give insight into how these species as a whole may respond to human recreational activities during crucial life-history stages, such as the nesting season. Although there was no discernable difference between circulating CORT concentrations between the urban and rural populations studied, I did find a significant difference in circulating CORT concentrations between male and female C. picta. This important finding provides better understanding of the sex differences between male and female painted turtles and adds to our understanding of this species and other species of freshwater turtle.
      PubDate: 2016-05-17T19:45:28-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow016
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Longitudinal progesterone profiles in baleen from female North Atlantic
           right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) match known calving history

    • Authors: Hunt, K. E; Lysiak, N. S, Moore, M. J, Rolland, R. M.
      Abstract: Reproduction of mysticete whales is difficult to monitor, and basic parameters, such as pregnancy rate and inter-calving interval, remain unknown for many populations. We hypothesized that baleen plates (keratinous strips that grow downward from the palate of mysticete whales) might record previous pregnancies, in the form of high-progesterone regions in the sections of baleen that grew while the whale was pregnant. To test this hypothesis, longitudinal baleen progesterone profiles from two adult female North Atlantic right whales (Eubalaena glacialis) that died as a result of ship strike were compared with dates of known pregnancies inferred from calf sightings and post-mortem data. We sampled a full-length baleen plate from each female at 4 cm intervals from base (newest baleen) to tip (oldest baleen), each interval representing ~60 days of baleen growth, with high-progesterone areas then sampled at 2 or 1 cm intervals. Pulverized baleen powder was assayed for progesterone using enzyme immunoassay. The date of growth of each sampling location on the baleen plate was estimated based on the distance from the base of the plate and baleen growth rates derived from annual cycles of stable isotope ratios. Baleen progesterone profiles from both whales showed dramatic elevations (two orders of magnitude higher than baseline) in areas corresponding to known pregnancies. Baleen hormone analysis shows great potential for estimation of recent reproductive history, inter-calving interval and general reproductive biology in this species and, possibly, in other mysticete whales.
      PubDate: 2016-05-11T19:35:32-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow014
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • A new analysis of hypoxia tolerance in fishes using a database of critical
           oxygen level (Pcrit)

    • Authors: Rogers, N. J; Urbina, M. A, Reardon, E. E, McKenzie, D. J, Wilson, R. W.
      Abstract: Hypoxia is a common occurrence in aquatic habitats, and it is becoming an increasingly frequent and widespread environmental perturbation, primarily as the result of anthropogenic nutrient enrichment and climate change. An in-depth understanding of the hypoxia tolerance of fishes, and how this varies among individuals and species, is required to make accurate predictions of future ecological impacts and to provide better information for conservation and fisheries management. The critical oxygen level (P crit) has been widely used as a quantifiable trait of hypoxia tolerance. It is defined as the oxygen level below which the animal can no longer maintain a stable rate of oxygen uptake (oxyregulate) and uptake becomes dependent on ambient oxygen availability (the animal transitions to oxyconforming). A comprehensive database of P crit values, comprising 331 measurements from 96 published studies, covering 151 fish species from 58 families, provides the most extensive and up-to-date analysis of hypoxia tolerance in teleosts. Methodologies for determining P crit are critically examined to evaluate its usefulness as an indicator of hypoxia tolerance in fishes. Various abiotic and biotic factors that interact with hypoxia are analysed for their effect on P crit, including temperature, CO2, acidification, toxic metals and feeding. Salinity, temperature, body mass and routine metabolic rate were strongly correlated with P crit; 20% of variation in the P crit data set was explained by these four variables. An important methodological issue not previously considered is the inconsistent increase in partial pressure of CO2 within a closed respirometer during the measurement of P crit. Modelling suggests that the final partial pressure of CO2 reached can vary from 650 to 3500 µatm depending on the ambient pH and salinity, with potentially major effects on blood acid–base balance and P crit itself. This database will form part of a widely accessible repository of physiological trait data that will serve as a resource to facilitate future studies of fish ecology, conservation and management.
      PubDate: 2016-04-28T02:50:30-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow012
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Survival, growth and stress response of juvenile tidewater goby,
           Eucyclogobius newberryi, to interspecific competition for food

    • Authors: Chase, D. A; Flynn, E. E, Todgham, A. E.
      Abstract: Reintroduction of endangered fishes to historic habitat has been used as a recovery tool; however, these fish may face competition from other fishes that established in their native habitat since extirpation. This study investigated the physiological response of tidewater goby, Eucyclogobius newberryi, an endangered California fish, when competing for food with threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, a native species, and rainwater killifish, Lucania parva, a non-native species. Survival, growth and physiological indicators of stress (i.e. cortisol, glucose and lactate concentrations) were assessed for juvenile fish held for 28 days in two food-limited conditions. When fed a 75% ration, survival of E. newberryi was significantly lower when held with G. aculeatus. In all fish assemblages, weight and relative condition decreased then stabilized over the 28 day experiment, while length remained unchanged. Whole-body cortisol in E. newberryi was not affected by fish assemblage; however, glucose and lactate concentrations were significantly higher with conspecifics than with other fish assemblages. When fed a 50% ration, survival of E. newberryi decreased during the second half of the experiment, while weight and relative condition decreased and length remained unchanged in all three fish assemblages. Cortisol concentrations were significantly higher for all fish assemblages compared with concentrations at the start of the experiment, whereas glucose and lactate concentrations were depressed relative to concentrations at the start of the experiment, with the magnitude of decrease dependent on the species assemblage. Our findings indicate that E. newberryi exhibited reduced growth and an elevated generalized stress response during low food availability. In response to reduced food availability, competition with G. aculeatus had the greatest physiological effect on E. newberryi, with minimal effects from the non-native L. parva. This study presents the first reported cortisol, glucose and lactate concentrations in response to chronic stress for E. newberryi.
      PubDate: 2016-04-22T23:40:29-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow013
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Reduced immune function predicts disease susceptibility in frogs infected
           with a deadly fungal pathogen

    • Authors: Savage, A. E; Terrell, K. A, Gratwicke, B, Mattheus, N. M, Augustine, L, Fleischer, R. C.
      Abstract: The relationship between amphibian immune function and disease susceptibility is of primary concern given current worldwide declines linked to the pathogenic fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). We experimentally infected lowland leopard frogs (Lithobates yavapaiensis) with Bd to test the hypothesis that infection causes physiological stress and stimulates humoral and cell-mediated immune function in the blood. We measured body mass, the ratio of circulating neutrophils to lymphocytes (a known indicator of physiological stress) and plasma bacterial killing ability (BKA; a measure of innate immune function). In early exposure (1–15 days post-infection), stress was elevated in Bd-positive vs. Bd-negative frogs, whereas other metrics were similar between the groups. At later stages (29–55 days post-infection), stress was increased in Bd-positive frogs with signs of chytridiomycosis compared with both Bd-positive frogs without disease signs and uninfected control frogs, which were similar to each other. Infection decreased growth during the same period, demonstrating that sustained resistance to Bd is energetically costly. Importantly, BKA was lower in Bd-positive frogs with disease than in those without signs of chytridiomycosis. However, neither group differed from Bd-negative control frogs. The low BKA values in dying frogs compared with infected individuals without disease signs suggests that complement activity might signify different immunogenetic backgrounds or gene-by-environment interactions between the host, Bd and abiotic factors. We conclude that protein complement activity might be a useful predictor of Bd susceptibility and might help to explain differential disease outcomes in natural amphibian populations.
      PubDate: 2016-04-15T22:45:29-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow011
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Understanding the individual to implement the ecosystem approach to
           fisheries management

    • Authors: Ward, T. D; Algera, D. A, Gallagher, A. J, Hawkins, E, Horodysky, A, Jorgensen, C, Killen, S. S, McKenzie, D. J, Metcalfe, J. D, Peck, M. A, Vu, M, Cooke, S. J.
      Abstract: Ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management (EAFMs) have emerged as requisite for sustainable use of fisheries resources. At the same time, however, there is a growing recognition of the degree of variation among individuals within a population, as well as the ecological consequences of this variation. Managing resources at an ecosystem level calls on practitioners to consider evolutionary processes, and ample evidence from the realm of fisheries science indicates that anthropogenic disturbance can drive changes in predominant character traits (e.g. size at maturity). Eco-evolutionary theory suggests that human-induced trait change and the modification of selective regimens might contribute to ecosystem dynamics at a similar magnitude to species extirpation, extinction and ecological dysfunction. Given the dynamic interaction between fisheries and target species via harvest and subsequent ecosystem consequences, we argue that individual diversity in genetic, physiological and behavioural traits are important considerations under EAFMs. Here, we examine the role of individual variation in a number of contexts relevant to fisheries management, including the potential ecological effects of rapid trait change. Using select examples, we highlight the extent of phenotypic diversity of individuals, as well as the ecological constraints on such diversity. We conclude that individual phenotypic diversity is a complex phenomenon that needs to be considered in EAFMs, with the ultimate realization that maintaining or increasing individual trait diversity may afford not only species, but also entire ecosystems, with enhanced resilience to environmental perturbations. Put simply, individuals are the foundation from which population- and ecosystem-level traits emerge and are therefore of central importance for the ecosystem-based approaches to fisheries management.
      PubDate: 2016-04-07T18:55:33-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow005
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Reduced salinity tolerance in the Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) is
           associated with rapid development of a gill interlamellar cell mass:
           implications of high-saline spills on native freshwater salmonids

    • Authors: Blair, S. D; Matheson, D, He, Y, Goss, G. G.
      Abstract: Arctic grayling (Thymallus arcticus) are salmonids that have a strict freshwater existence in post-glacial North America. Oil and gas development is associated with production of high volumes of hypersaline water. With planned industrial expansion into northern areas of Canada and the USA that directly overlap grayling habitat, the threat of accidental saline water release poses a significant risk. Despite this, we understand little about the responses of grayling to hypersaline waters. We compared the physiological responses and survivability of Arctic grayling and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) to tolerate an acute transfer to higher saline waters. Arctic grayling and rainbow trout were placed directly into 17 ppt salinity and sampled at 24 and 96 h along with control animals in freshwater at 24 h. Serum sodium, chloride and osmolality levels increased significantly in grayling at both 24 and 96 h time points, whereas trout were able to compensate for the osmoregulatory disturbance by 96 h. Sodium–potassium ATPase mRNA expression responses to salinity were also compared, demonstrating the inability of the grayling to up-regulate the seawater isoform nkaα1b. Our results demonstrated a substantially lower salinity tolerance in grayling. We also found a significant salinity-induced morphological gill remodelling by Arctic grayling, as demonstrated by the rapid growth of an interlamellar cell mass by 24 h that persisted at 96 h. We visualized and quantified the appearance of the interlamellar cell mass as a response to high salinity, although the functional significance remains to be understood fully. Compared with rainbow trout, which are used as an environmental regulatory species, Arctic grayling are unable to compensate for the osmotic stressors that would result from a highly saline produced water spill. Given these new data, collaboration between fisheries and the oil and gas industry will be vital in the long-term conservation strategies with regard to the Arctic grayling in their native habitat.
      PubDate: 2016-03-23T21:55:27-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow010
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Are global warming and ocean acidification conspiring against marine
           ectotherms' A meta-analysis of the respiratory effects of elevated
           temperature, high CO2 and their interaction

    • Authors: Lefevre; S.
      Abstract: With the occurrence of global change, research aimed at estimating the performance of marine ectotherms in a warmer and acidified future has intensified. The concept of oxygen- and capacity-limited thermal tolerance, which is inspired by the Fry paradigm of a bell-shaped increase–optimum–decrease-type response of aerobic scope to increasing temperature, but also includes proposed negative and synergistic effects of elevated CO2 levels, has been suggested as a unifying framework. The objectives of this meta-analysis were to assess the following: (i) the generality of a bell-shaped relationship between absolute aerobic scope (AAS) and temperature; (ii) to what extent elevated CO2 affects resting oxygen uptake MO2rest and AAS; and (iii) whether there is an interaction between elevated temperature and CO2. The behavioural effects of CO2 are also briefly discussed. In 31 out of 73 data sets (both acutely exposed and acclimated), AAS increased and remained above 90% of the maximum, whereas a clear thermal optimum was observed in the remaining 42 data sets. Carbon dioxide caused a significant rise in MO2rest in only 18 out of 125 data sets, and a decrease in 25, whereas it caused a decrease in AAS in four out of 18 data sets and an increase in two. The analysis did not reveal clear evidence for an overall correlation with temperature, CO2 regime or duration of CO2 treatment. When CO2 had an effect, additive rather than synergistic interactions with temperature were most common and, interestingly, they even interacted antagonistically on MO2rest and AAS. The behavioural effects of CO2 could complicate experimental determination of respiratory performance. Overall, this meta-analysis reveals heterogeneity in the responses to elevated temperature and CO2 that is not in accordance with the idea of a single unifying principle and which cannot be ignored in attempts to model and predict the impacts of global warming and ocean acidification on marine ectotherms.
      PubDate: 2016-03-23T21:55:27-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow009
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Methods matter: considering locomotory mode and respirometry technique
           when estimating metabolic rates of fishes

    • Authors: Rummer, J. L; Binning, S. A, Roche, D. G, Johansen, J. L.
      Abstract: Respirometry is frequently used to estimate metabolic rates and examine organismal responses to environmental change. Although a range of methodologies exists, it remains unclear whether differences in chamber design and exercise (type and duration) produce comparable results within individuals and whether the most appropriate method differs across taxa. We used a repeated-measures design to compare estimates of maximal and standard metabolic rates (MMR and SMR) in four coral reef fish species using the following three methods: (i) prolonged swimming in a traditional swimming respirometer; (ii) short-duration exhaustive chase with air exposure followed by resting respirometry; and (iii) short-duration exhaustive swimming in a circular chamber. We chose species that are steady/prolonged swimmers, using either a body–caudal fin or a median–paired fin swimming mode during routine swimming. Individual MMR estimates differed significantly depending on the method used. Swimming respirometry consistently provided the best (i.e. highest) estimate of MMR in all four species irrespective of swimming mode. Both short-duration protocols (exhaustive chase and swimming in a circular chamber) produced similar MMR estimates, which were up to 38% lower than those obtained during prolonged swimming. Furthermore, underestimates were not consistent across swimming modes or species, indicating that a general correction factor cannot be used. However, SMR estimates (upon recovery from both of the exhausting swimming methods) were consistent across both short-duration methods. Given the increasing use of metabolic data to assess organismal responses to environmental stressors, we recommend carefully considering respirometry protocols before experimentation. Specifically, results should not readily be compared across methods; discrepancies could result in misinterpretation of MMR and aerobic scope.
      PubDate: 2016-03-23T21:55:27-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow008
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Context dependency of trait repeatability and its relevance for management
           and conservation of fish populations

    • Authors: Killen, S. S; Adriaenssens, B, Marras, S, Claireaux, G, Cooke, S. J.
      Abstract: Repeatability of behavioural and physiological traits is increasingly a focus for animal researchers, for which fish have become important models. Almost all of this work has been done in the context of evolutionary ecology, with few explicit attempts to apply repeatability and context dependency of trait variation toward understanding conservation-related issues. Here, we review work examining the degree to which repeatability of traits (such as boldness, swimming performance, metabolic rate and stress responsiveness) is context dependent. We review methods for quantifying repeatability (distinguishing between within-context and across-context repeatability) and confounding factors that may be especially problematic when attempting to measure repeatability in wild fish. Environmental factors such temperature, food availability, oxygen availability, hypercapnia, flow regime and pollutants all appear to alter trait repeatability in fishes. This suggests that anthropogenic environmental change could alter evolutionary trajectories by changing which individuals achieve the greatest fitness in a given set of conditions. Gaining a greater understanding of these effects will be crucial for our ability to forecast the effects of gradual environmental change, such as climate change and ocean acidification, the study of which is currently limited by our ability to examine trait changes over relatively short time scales. Also discussed are situations in which recent advances in technologies associated with electronic tags (biotelemetry and biologging) and respirometry will help to facilitate increased quantification of repeatability for physiological and integrative traits, which so far lag behind measures of repeatability of behavioural traits.
      PubDate: 2016-03-23T21:55:27-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow007
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Assessment of ground transportation stress in juvenile Kemps ridley sea
           turtles (Lepidochelys kempii)

    • Authors: Hunt, K. E; Innis, C. J, Kennedy, A. E, McNally, K. L, Davis, D. G, Burgess, E. A, Merigo, C.
      Abstract: Sea turtle rehabilitation centres frequently transport sea turtles for long distances to move animals between centres or to release them at beaches, yet there is little information on the possible effects of transportation-related stress (‘transport stress’) on sea turtles. To assess whether transport stress is a clinically relevant concern for endangered Kemp’s ridley sea turtles (Lepidochelys kempii), we obtained pre-transport and post-transport plasma samples from 26 juvenile Kemp’s ridley sea turtles that were transported for 13 h (n = 15 turtles) or 26 h (n = 11 turtles) by truck for release at beaches. To control for effects of handling, food restriction and time of day, the same turtles were also studied on ‘control days’ 2 weeks prior to transport, i.e. with two samples taken to mimic pre-transport and post-transport timing, but without transportation. Blood samples were analysed for nine clinical health measures (pH, pCO2, pO2, HCO3, sodium, potassium, ionized calcium, lactate and haematocrit) and four ‘stress-associated’ parameters (corticosterone, glucose, white blood cell count and heterophil-to-lymphocyte ratio). Vital signs (heart rate, respiratory rate and cloacal temperature) were also monitored. Corticosterone and glucose showed pronounced elevations due specifically to transportation; for corticosterone, this elevation was significant only for the longer transport duration, whereas glucose increased significantly after both transport durations. However, clinical health measures and vital signs showed minimal or no changes in response to any sampling event (with or without transport), and all turtles appeared to be in good clinical health after both transport durations. Thus, transportation elicits a mild, but detectable, adrenal stress response that is more pronounced during longer durations of transport; nonetheless, Kemp’s ridley sea turtles can tolerate ground transportation of up to 26 h in good health. These results are likely to depend on specific transportation and handling protocols.
      PubDate: 2016-03-22T08:05:27-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov071
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Haematological and immunological characteristics of eastern hellbenders
           (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) infected and co-infected with
           endo- and ectoparasites

    • Authors: Hopkins, W. A; Fallon, J. A, Beck, M. L, Coe, B. H, Jachowski, C. M. B.
      Abstract: Disease is among the leading causes of the global decline in amphibian populations. In North America, parasites and pathogens are among the factors implicated in precipitous population declines of the giant hellbender salamander (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis), but the incidence of infections and the responses of hellbenders to infections remain poorly studied. Here, we document the prevalence of leech and trypanosome infections in a wild population of eastern hellbenders (Cryptobranchus alleganiensis alleganiensis) and describe haematological and immunological characteristics of hellbenders harbouring these infections. We hypothesized that hellbenders parasitized by trypanosomes would be anaemic, that individuals infected with either or both parasites would exhibit shifts in white blood cell counts and that hellbenders infected with leeches would exhibit altered plasma bactericidal capacity. We found that 24 and 68% of hellbenders in our sample population were infected with leeches and trypanosomes, respectively, and 20% were co-infected with both parasites. We found no evidence suggestive of anaemia among infected individuals. However, hellbenders infected with either or both parasites exhibited marked shifts in circulating white blood cells that were consistent with predictable responses to parasitic infection. Additionally, we found that hellbenders harbouring leeches had much higher plasma bactericidal capacity than individuals without leeches, and we offer multiple potential mechanistic explanations for this observation. We also found evidence that cellular and serological immune responses to parasites were less robust in juvenile than adult hellbenders. This finding warrants further investigation in light of the demographic characteristics, specifically the scarcity of juvenile age classes, of hellbender populations where disease is a possible contributor to declines. Finally, we describe two methodological advances that will improve future studies seeking to diagnose trypanosome infections and to test the bactericidal capacity of hellbenders and perhaps other amphibians. Our study provides fundamental insights into how hellbenders respond physiologically to endo- and ectoparasites, which could ultimately prove useful for their conservation.
      PubDate: 2016-03-21T01:25:27-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow002
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Assessments at multiple levels of biological organization allow for an
           integrative determination of physiological tolerances to turbidity in an
           endangered fish species

    • Authors: Hasenbein, M; Fangue, N. A, Geist, J, Komoroske, L. M, Truong, J, McPherson, R, Connon, R. E.
      Abstract: Turbidity can influence trophic levels by altering species composition and can potentially affect fish feeding strategies and predator–prey interactions. The estuarine turbidity maximum, described as an area of increased suspended particles, phytoplankton and zooplankton, generally represents a zone with higher turbidity and enhanced food sources important for successful feeding and growth in many fish species. The delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) is an endangered, pelagic fish species endemic to the San Francisco Estuary and Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta, USA, where it is associated with turbid waters. Turbidity is known to play an important role for the completion of the species' life cycle; however, turbidity ranges in the Delta are broad, and specific requirements for this fish species are still unknown. To evaluate turbidity requirements for early life stages, late-larval delta smelt were maintained at environmentally relevant turbidity levels ranging from 5 to 250 nephelometric turbidity units (NTU) for 24 h, after which a combination of physiological endpoints (molecular biomarkers and cortisol), behavioural indices (feeding) and whole-organism measures (survival) were determined. All endpoints delivered consistent results and identified turbidities between 25 and 80 NTU as preferential. Delta smelt survival rates were highest between 12 and 80 NTU and feeding rates were highest between 25 and 80 NTU. Cortisol levels indicated minimal stress between 35 and 80 NTU and were elevated at low turbidities (5, 12 and 25 NTU). Expression of stress-related genes indicated significant responses for gst, hsp70 and glut2 in high turbidities (250 NTU), and principal component analysis on all measured genes revealed a clustering of 25, 35, 50 and 80 NTU separating the medium-turbidity treatments from low- and high-turbidity treatments. Taken together, these data demonstrate that turbidity levels that are either too low or too high affect delta smelt physiological performance, causing significant effects on overall stress, food intake and mortality. They also highlight the need for turbidity to be considered in habitat and water management decisions.
      PubDate: 2016-03-16T03:50:30-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow004
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Calibration of the HemoCue point-of-care analyser for determining
           haemoglobin concentration in a lizard and a fish

    • Authors: Andrewartha, S. J; Munns, S. L, Edwards, A.
      Abstract: Haemoglobin concentration ([Hb]) is measured for a wide variety of animal studies. The use of point-of-care devices, such as the HemoCue, is becoming increasingly common because of their portability, relative ease of use and low cost. In this study, we aimed to determine whether the [Hb] of blue-tongued skink (Tiliqua nigrolutea) blood can be determined accurately using the HemoCue and whether the HemoCue overestimates the [Hb] of reptile blood in a similar manner to fish blood. Additionally, we aimed to test whether ploidy affected [Hb] determined by the HemoCue using blood from diploid and triploid Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). The HemoCue Hb 201+ systematically overestimated [Hb] in both blue-tongued skinks and Atlantic salmon, and there was no difference between calibration equations determined for diploid or triploid salmon. The overestimation was systematic in both species and, as such, [Hb] determined by the HemoCue can be corrected using appropriate calibration equations.
      PubDate: 2016-03-14T01:30:24-07:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow006
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Will ocean acidification affect the early ontogeny of a tropical oviparous
           elasmobranch (Hemiscyllium ocellatum)?

    • Authors: Johnson, M. S; Kraver, D. W, Renshaw, G. M. C, Rummer, J. L.
      Abstract: Atmospheric CO2 is increasing due to anthropogenic causes. Approximately 30% of this CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans and is causing ocean acidification (OA). The effects of OA on calcifying organisms are starting to be understood, but less is known about the effects on non-calcifying organisms, notably elasmobranchs. One of the few elasmobranch species that has been studied with respect to OA is the epaulette shark, Hemiscyllium ocellatum. Mature epaulette sharks can physiologically and behaviourally tolerate prolonged exposure to elevated CO2, and this is thought to be because they are routinely exposed to diurnal decreases in O2 and probably concomitant increases in CO2 in their coral reef habitats. It follows that H. ocellatum embryos, while developing in ovo on the reefs, would have to be equally if not more tolerant than adults because they would not be able to escape such conditions. Epaulette shark eggs were exposed to either present-day control conditions (420 µatm) or elevated CO2 (945 µatm) and observed every 3 days from 10 days post-fertilization until 30 days post-hatching. Growth (in square centimetres per day), yolk usage (as a percentage), tail oscillations (per minute), gill movements (per minute) and survival were not significantly different in embryos reared in control conditions when compared with those reared in elevated CO2 conditions. Overall, these findings emphasize the importance of investigating early life-history stages, as the consequences are expected to transfer not only to the success of an individual but also to populations and their distribution patterns.
      PubDate: 2016-03-07T09:00:32-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow003
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Conservation physiology of animal migration

    • Authors: Lennox, R. J; Chapman, J. M, Souliere, C. M, Tudorache, C, Wikelski, M, Metcalfe, J. D, Cooke, S. J.
      Abstract: Migration is a widespread phenomenon among many taxa. This complex behaviour enables animals to exploit many temporally productive and spatially discrete habitats to accrue various fitness benefits (e.g. growth, reproduction, predator avoidance). Human activities and global environmental change represent potential threats to migrating animals (from individuals to species), and research is underway to understand mechanisms that control migration and how migration responds to modern challenges. Focusing on behavioural and physiological aspects of migration can help to provide better understanding, management and conservation of migratory populations. Here, we highlight different physiological, behavioural and biomechanical aspects of animal migration that will help us to understand how migratory animals interact with current and future anthropogenic threats. We are in the early stages of a changing planet, and our understanding of how physiology is linked to the persistence of migratory animals is still developing; therefore, we regard the following questions as being central to the conservation physiology of animal migrations. Will climate change influence the energetic costs of migration' Will shifting temperatures change the annual clocks of migrating animals' Will anthropogenic influences have an effect on orientation during migration' Will increased anthropogenic alteration of migration stopover sites/migration corridors affect the stress physiology of migrating animals' Can physiological knowledge be used to identify strategies for facilitating the movement of animals' Our synthesis reveals that given the inherent challenges of migration, additional stressors derived from altered environments (e.g. climate change, physical habitat alteration, light pollution) or interaction with human infrastructure (e.g. wind or hydrokinetic turbines, dams) or activities (e.g. fisheries) could lead to long-term changes to migratory phenotypes. However, uncertainty remains because of the complexity of biological systems, the inherently dynamic nature of the environment and the scale at which many migrations occur and associated threats operate, necessitating improved integration of physiological approaches to the conservation of migratory animals.
      PubDate: 2016-02-29T20:15:22-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov072
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Energetic benefits of enhanced summer roosting habitat for little brown
           bats (Myotis lucifugus) recovering from white-nose syndrome

    • Authors: Wilcox, A; Willis, C. K. R.
      Abstract: Habitat modification can improve outcomes for imperilled wildlife. Insectivorous bats in North America face a range of conservation threats, including habitat loss and white-nose syndrome (WNS). Even healthy bats face energetic constraints during spring, but enhancement of roosting habitat could reduce energetic costs, increase survival and enhance recovery from WNS. We tested the potential of artificial heating of bat roosts as a management tool for threatened bat populations. We predicted that: (i) after hibernation, captive bats would be more likely to select a roost maintained at a temperature near their thermoneutral zone; (ii) bats recovering from WNS at the end of hibernation would show a stronger preference for heated roosts compared with healthy bats; and (iii) heated roosts would result in biologically significant energy savings. We housed two groups of bats (WNS-positive and control) in separate flight cages following hibernation. Over 7.5 weeks, we quantified the presence of individuals in heated vs. unheated bat houses within each cage. We then used a series of bioenergetic models to quantify thermoregulatory costs in each type of roost under a number of scenarios. Bats preferentially selected heated bat houses, but WNS-affected bats were much more likely to use the heated bat house compared with control animals. Our model predicted energy savings of up to 81.2% for bats in artificially heated roosts if roost temperature was allowed to cool at night to facilitate short bouts of torpor. Our results are consistent with research highlighting the importance of roost microclimate and suggest that protection and enhancement of high-quality, natural roosting environments should be a priority response to a range of threats, including WNS. Our findings also suggest the potential of artificially heated bat houses to help populations recover from WNS, but more work is needed before these might be implemented on a large scale.
      PubDate: 2016-02-26T20:27:30-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov070
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Effects of ocean acidification on embryonic respiration and development of
           a temperate wrasse living along a natural CO2 gradient

    • Authors: Cattano, C; Giomi, F, Milazzo, M.
      Abstract: Volcanic CO2 seeps provide opportunities to investigate the effects of ocean acidification on organisms in the wild. To understand the influence of increasing CO2 concentrations on the metabolic rate (oxygen consumption) and the development of ocellated wrasse early life stages, we ran two field experiments, collecting embryos from nesting sites with different partial pressures of CO2 [pCO2; ambient (~400 µatm) and high (800–1000 µatm)] and reciprocally transplanting embryos from ambient- to high-CO2 sites for 30 h. Ocellated wrasse offspring brooded in different CO2 conditions had similar responses, but after transplanting portions of nests to the high-CO2 site, embryos from parents that spawned in ambient conditions had higher metabolic rates. Although metabolic phenotypic plasticity may show a positive response to high CO2, it often comes at a cost, in this case as a smaller size at hatching. This can have adverse effects because smaller larvae often exhibit a lower survival in the wild. However, the adverse effects of increased CO2 on metabolism and development did not occur when embryos from the high-CO2 nesting site were exposed to ambient conditions, suggesting that offspring from the high-CO2 nesting site could be resilient to a wider range of pCO2 values than those belonging to the site with present-day pCO2 levels. Our study identifies a crucial need to increase the number of studies dealing with these processes under global change trajectories and to expand these to naturally high-CO2 environments, in order to assess further the adaptive plasticity mechanism that encompasses non-genetic inheritance (epigenetics) through parental exposure and other downstream consequences, such as survival of larvae.
      PubDate: 2016-02-26T20:27:30-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov073
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Development and application of an antibody-based protein microarray to
           assess physiological stress in grizzly bears (Ursus arctos)

    • Authors: Carlson, R. I; Cattet, M. R. L, Sarauer, B. L, Nielsen, S. E, Boulanger, J, Stenhouse, G. B, Janz, D. M.
      Abstract: A novel antibody-based protein microarray was developed that simultaneously determines expression of 31 stress-associated proteins in skin samples collected from free-ranging grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) in Alberta, Canada. The microarray determines proteins belonging to four broad functional categories associated with stress physiology: hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis proteins, apoptosis/cell cycle proteins, cellular stress/proteotoxicity proteins and oxidative stress/inflammation proteins. Small skin samples (50–100 mg) were collected from captured bears using biopsy punches. Proteins were isolated and labelled with fluorescent dyes, with labelled protein homogenates loaded onto microarrays to hybridize with antibodies. Relative protein expression was determined by comparison with a pooled standard skin sample. The assay was sensitive, requiring 80 µg of protein per sample to be run in triplicate on the microarray. Intra-array and inter-array coefficients of variation for individual proteins were generally
      PubDate: 2016-02-26T20:27:30-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cow001
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Inter-population differences in salinity tolerance and osmoregulation of
           juvenile wild and hatchery-born Sacramento splittail

    • Authors: Verhille, C. E; Dabruzzi, T. F, Cocherell, D. E, Mahardja, B, Feyrer, F, Foin, T. C, Baerwald, M. R, Fangue, N. A.
      Abstract: The Sacramento splittail (Pogonichthys macrolepidotus) is a minnow endemic to the highly modified San Francisco Estuary of California, USA and its associated rivers and tributaries. This species is composed of two genetically distinct populations, which, according to field observations and otolith strontium signatures, show largely allopatric distribution patterns as recently hatched juveniles. Juvenile Central Valley splittail are found primarily in the nearly fresh waters of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers and their tributaries, whereas San Pablo juveniles are found in the typically higher-salinity waters (i.e. up to 10) of the Napa and Petaluma Rivers. As the large salinity differences between young-of-year habitats may indicate population-specific differences in salinity tolerance, we hypothesized that juvenile San Pablo and Central Valley splittail populations differ in their response to salinity. In hatchery-born and wild-caught juvenile San Pablo splittail, we found upper salinity tolerances, where mortalities occurred within 336 h of exposure to 16 or higher, which was higher than the upper salinity tolerance of 14 for wild-caught juvenile Central Valley splittail. This, in conjunction with slower recovery of plasma osmolality, but not ion levels, muscle moisture or gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity, in Central Valley relative to San Pablo splittail during osmoregulatory disturbance provides some support for our hypothesis of inter-population variation in salinity tolerance and osmoregulation. The modestly improved salinity tolerance of San Pablo splittail is consistent with its use of higher-salinity habitats. Although confirmation of the putative adaptive difference through further studies is recommended, this may highlight the need for population-specific management considerations.
      PubDate: 2016-02-16T20:30:19-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov063
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Long-term effect of carbohydrate reserves on growth and reproduction of
           Prosopis denudans (Fabaceae): implications for conservation of woody

    • Abstract: Prosopis denudans, an extreme xerophyte shrub, is consumed by ungulates and threatened by firewood gathering, because it is one of the preferred species used by Mapuche indigenous people of Patagonia. In a scenario of uncontrolled use of vegetation, it is very difficult to develop a conservation plan that jointly protects natural resources and its users. We performed a field experiment to assess the impact of defoliation on growth, reproduction and stores of a wild population of P. denudans. We imposed four levels of defoliation (removal of 100, 66, 33 and 0% of leaves) and evaluated the short- and long-term (3 years) effects of this disturbance. Seasonal changes in shoot carbohydrates suggested that they support leaf-flush and blooming. Severely defoliated individuals also used root reserves to support growth and leaf-flush after clipping. Vegetative growth was not affected by defoliation history. Leaf mass area increased after the initial clipping, suggesting the development of structural defenses. The depletion of root reserves at the end of the first year affected inflorescence production the following spring. We conclude that P. denudans shrubs could lose up to one-third of their green tissues without affecting growth or inflorescence production. The removal of a higher proportion of leaves will diminish stores, which in turn, will reduce or completely prevent blooming and, therefore, fruit production the following seasons. Very few studies integrate conservation and plant physiology, and we are not aware, so far, of any work dealing with long-term plant carbon economy of a long-lived perennial shrub as an applied tool in conservation. These results might help the development of management strategies that consider both the use and the conservation of wild populations of P. denudans.
      PubDate: 2016-02-10T17:50:18-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov068
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Physiological stress and post-release mortality of white marlin (Kajikia
           albida) caught in the United States recreational fishery

    • Authors: Schlenker, L. S; Latour, R. J, Brill, R. W, Graves, J. E.
      Abstract: White marlin, a highly migratory pelagic marine fish, support important commercial and recreational fisheries throughout their range in the tropical and subtropical Atlantic Ocean. More than 10 000 individuals can be caught annually in the United States recreational fishery, of which the vast majority are captured on circle hooks and released alive. The probability of post-release mortality of white marlin released from circle hooks has been documented to be
      PubDate: 2016-02-10T17:50:18-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov066
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Effects of salinity on upstream-migrating, spawning sea lamprey,
           Petromyzon marinus

    • Authors: Ferreira-Martins, D; Coimbra, J, Antunes, C, Wilson, J. M.
      Abstract: The sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, is an anadromous, semelparous species that is vulnerable to endangered in parts of its native range due in part to loss of spawning habitat because of man-made barriers. The ability of lampreys to return to the ocean or estuary and search out alternative spawning river systems would be limited by their osmoregulatory ability in seawater. A reduction in tolerance to salinity has been documented in migrants, although the underlying mechanisms have not been characterized. We examined the capacity for marine osmoregulation in upstream spawning migrants by characterizing the physiological effects of salinity challenge from a molecular perspective. Estuarine-captured migrants held in freshwater (FW) for ~1 week (short-term acclimation) or 2 months (long-term acclimation) underwent an incremental salinity challenge until loss of equilibrium occurred and upper thresholds of 25 and 17.5, respectively, occurred. Regardless of salinity tolerance, all lamprey downregulated FW ion-uptake mechanisms [gill transcripts of Na+:Cl– cotransporter (NCC/slc12a3) and epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC/scnn1) and kidney Na+/K+-ATPase (NKA) protein and activity but not transcript]. At their respective salinity limits, lamprey displayed a clear osmoregulatory failure and were unable to regulate [Na+] and [Cl–] in plasma and intestinal fluid within physiological limits, becoming osmocompromised. A >90% drop in haematocrit indicated haemolysis, and higher plasma concentrations of the cytosolic enzymes alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and lactate dehydrogenase indicated damage to other tissues, including liver. However, >80% of short-term FW-acclimated fish were able to osmoregulate efficiently, with less haemolysis and tissue damage. This osmoregulatory ability was correlated with significant upregulation of the secretory form of Na+:K+:2Cl– cotransporter (NKCC1/slc12a2) transcript levels and the re-emergence of seawater-type ionocytes detected through immunohistochemical NKA immunoreactivity in the gill, the central ionoregulatory organ. This work sheds light on the molecular and physiological limits to the potential return to seawater for lampreys searching for alternative FW systems in which to spawn.
      PubDate: 2016-02-06T03:40:17-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov064
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Links between parasitism, energy reserves and fecundity of European
           anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus, in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea

    • Authors: Ferrer-Maza, D; Lloret, J, Munoz, M, Faliex, E, Vila, S, Sasal, P.
      Abstract: The European anchovy, Engraulis encrasicolus L. 1758, is one of the most sought-after target species in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea. However, this stock currently consists of small individuals, and landings are reported to have decreased considerably. The main purpose of this study was to assess, for the first time, the interrelationships between size, fecundity, energy reserves and parasitism in female anchovies, in order to analyse the potential implications for the health of northwestern Mediterranean anchovy stocks arising from the current shortage of large individuals. Results revealed that smaller individuals show lower fecundity, lower lipid content and a higher intensity of certain parasites. As it is known that smaller individuals now predominate in the population, the relationships found in this study indicate that the health of anchovies from the northwestern Mediterranean is currently impaired.
      PubDate: 2016-01-22T20:40:09-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov069
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Progressive hypoxia decouples activity and aerobic performance of skate

    • Authors: Di Santo, V; Tran, A. H, Svendsen, J. C.
      Abstract: Although fish population size is strongly affected by survival during embryonic stages, our understanding of physiological responses to environmental stressors is based primarily on studies of post-hatch fishes. Embryonic responses to acute exposure to changes in abiotic conditions, including increase in hypoxia, could be particularly important in species exhibiting long developmental time, as embryos are unable to select a different environment behaviourally. Given that oxygen is key to metabolic processes in fishes and aquatic hypoxia is becoming more severe and frequent worldwide, organisms are expected to reduce their aerobic performance. Here, we examined the metabolic and behavioural responses of embryos of a benthic elasmobranch fish, the little skate (Leucoraja erinacea), to acute progressive hypoxia, by measuring oxygen consumption and movement (tail-beat) rates inside the egg case. Oxygen consumption rates were not significantly affected by ambient oxygen levels until reaching 45% air saturation (critical oxygen saturation, S crit). Below S crit, oxygen consumption rates declined rapidly, revealing an oxygen conformity response. Surprisingly, we observed a decoupling of aerobic performance and activity, as tail-beat rates increased, rather than matching the declining metabolic rates, at air saturation levels of 55% and below. These results suggest a significantly divergent response at the physiological and behavioural levels. While skate embryos depressed their metabolic rates in response to progressive hypoxia, they increased water circulation inside the egg case, presumably to restore normoxic conditions, until activity ceased abruptly around 9.8% air saturation.
      PubDate: 2016-01-22T20:40:08-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov067
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Prior exposure to capture heightens the corticosterone and behavioural
           responses of little penguins (Eudyptula minor) to acute stress

    • Authors: Carroll, G; Turner, E, Dann, P, Harcourt, R.
      Abstract: Studies of physiology can provide important insight into how animals are coping with challenges in their environment and can signal the potential effects of exposure to human activity in both the short and long term. In this study, we measured the physiological and behavioural response of little penguins (Eudyptula minor) that were naïve to human activity over 30 min of capture and handling. We assessed relationships between corticosterone secretion, behaviour, sex and time of day in order to characterize the determinants of the natural stress response. We then compared the response of these naïve penguins with the responses of female little penguins that had been exposed to research activity (bimonthly nest check and weighing) and to both research activity (monthly nest check and weighing) and evening viewing by tourists. We found that corticosterone concentrations increased significantly over 30 min of capture, with naïve penguins demonstrating a more acute stress response during the day than at night. Penguins that had previously been exposed to handling at the research and research/visitor sites showed elevated corticosterone concentrations and consistently more aggressive behaviour after 30 min compared with naïve birds, although there were no significant differences in baseline corticosterone concentrations. Our findings demonstrate that these little penguins have not habituated to routine capture, but rather mount a heightened physiological and behavioural response to handling by humans. Less invasive research monitoring techniques, such as individual identification with PIT tags and automatic recording and weighing, and a reduction in handling during the day should be considered to mitigate some of the potentially negative effects of disturbance. Given the paucity of data on the long-term consequences of heightened stress on animal physiology, our study highlights the need for further investigation of the relationship between the corticosterone stress response and fitness outcomes, such as breeding success and survival.
      PubDate: 2016-01-19T18:10:10-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov061
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Fisheries conservation on the high seas: linking conservation physiology
           and fisheries ecology for the management of large pelagic fishes

    • Authors: Horodysky, A. Z; Cooke, S. J, Graves, J. E, Brill, R. W.
      Abstract: Populations of tunas, billfishes and pelagic sharks are fished at or over capacity in many regions of the world. They are captured by directed commercial and recreational fisheries (the latter of which often promote catch and release) or as incidental catch or bycatch in commercial fisheries. Population assessments of pelagic fishes typically incorporate catch-per-unit-effort time-series data from commercial and recreational fisheries; however, there have been notable changes in target species, areas fished and depth-specific gear deployments over the years that may have affected catchability. Some regional fisheries management organizations take into account the effects of time- and area-specific changes in the behaviours of fish and fishers, as well as fishing gear, to standardize catch-per-unit-effort indices and refine population estimates. However, estimates of changes in stock size over time may be very sensitive to underlying assumptions of the effects of oceanographic conditions and prey distribution on the horizontal and vertical movement patterns and distribution of pelagic fishes. Effective management and successful conservation of pelagic fishes requires a mechanistic understanding of their physiological and behavioural responses to environmental variability, potential for interaction with commercial and recreational fishing gear, and the capture process. The interdisciplinary field of conservation physiology can provide insights into pelagic fish demography and ecology (including environmental relationships and interspecific interactions) by uniting the complementary expertise and skills of fish physiologists and fisheries scientists. The iterative testing by one discipline of hypotheses generated by the other can span the fundamental–applied science continuum, leading to the development of robust insights supporting informed management. The resulting species-specific understanding of physiological abilities and tolerances can help to improve stock assessments, develop effective bycatch-reduction strategies, predict rates of post-release mortality, and forecast the population effects of environmental change. In this synthesis, we review several examples of these interdisciplinary collaborations that currently benefit pelagic fisheries management.
      PubDate: 2016-01-13T21:40:40-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov059
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Phenotypic variation in metabolism and morphology correlating with animal
           swimming activity in the wild: relevance for the OCLTT (oxygen- and
           capacity-limitation of thermal tolerance), allocation and performance

    • Authors: Baktoft, H; Jacobsen, L, Skov, C, Koed, A, Jepsen, N, Berg, S, Boel, M, Aarestrup, K, Svendsen, J. C.
      Abstract: Ongoing climate change is affecting animal physiology in many parts of the world. Using metabolism, the oxygen- and capacity-limitation of thermal tolerance (OCLTT) hypothesis provides a tool to predict the responses of ectothermic animals to variation in temperature, oxygen availability and pH in the aquatic environment. The hypothesis remains controversial, however, and has been questioned in several studies. A positive relationship between aerobic metabolic scope and animal activity would be consistent with the OCLTT but has rarely been tested. Moreover, the performance model and the allocation model predict positive and negative relationships, respectively, between standard metabolic rate and activity. Finally, animal activity could be affected by individual morphology because of covariation with cost of transport. Therefore, we hypothesized that individual variation in activity is correlated with variation in metabolism and morphology. To test this prediction, we captured 23 wild European perch (Perca fluviatilis) in a lake, tagged them with telemetry transmitters, measured standard and maximal metabolic rates, aerobic metabolic scope and fineness ratio and returned the fish to the lake to quantify individual in situ activity levels. Metabolic rates were measured using intermittent flow respirometry, whereas the activity assay involved high-resolution telemetry providing positions every 30 s over 12 days. We found no correlation between individual metabolic traits and activity, whereas individual fineness ratio correlated with activity. Independent of body length, and consistent with physics theory, slender fish maintained faster mean and maximal swimming speeds, but this variation did not result in a larger area (in square metres) explored per 24 h. Testing assumptions and predictions of recent conceptual models, our study indicates that individual metabolism is not a strong determinant of animal activity, in contrast to individual morphology, which is correlated with in situ activity patterns.
      PubDate: 2016-01-11T17:22:31-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov055
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Evaluating the effect of sample type on American alligator (Alligator
           mississippiensis) analyte values in a point-of-care blood analyser

    • Authors: Hamilton, M. T; Finger, J. W, Winzeler, M. E, Tuberville, T. D.
      Abstract: The assessment of wildlife health has been enhanced by the ability of point-of-care (POC) blood analysers to provide biochemical analyses of non-domesticated animals in the field. However, environmental limitations (e.g. temperature, atmospheric humidity and rain) and lack of reference values may inhibit researchers from using such a device with certain wildlife species. Evaluating the use of alternative sample types, such as plasma, in a POC device may afford researchers the opportunity to delay sample analysis and the ability to use banked samples. In this study, we examined fresh whole blood, fresh plasma and frozen plasma (sample type) pH, partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PCO2), bicarbonate (HCO3 –), total carbon dioxide (TCO2), base excess (BE), partial pressure of oxygen (PO2), oxygen saturation (sO2) and lactate concentrations in 23 juvenile American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) using an i-STAT CG4+ cartridge. Our results indicate that sample type had no effect on lactate concentration values (F 2,65 = 0.37, P = 0.963), suggesting that the i-STAT analyser can be used reliably to quantify lactate concentrations in fresh and frozen plasma samples. In contrast, the other seven blood parameters measured by the CG4+ cartridge were significantly affected by sample type. Lastly, we were able to collect blood samples from all alligators within 2 min of capture to establish preliminary reference ranges for juvenile alligators based on values obtained using fresh whole blood.
      PubDate: 2016-01-08T00:18:35-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov065
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Intraspecific individual variation of temperature tolerance associated
           with oxygen demand in the European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax)

    • Authors: Ozolina, K; Shiels, H. A, Ollivier, H, Claireaux, G.
      Abstract: The European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) is an economically important fish native to the Mediterranean and Northern Atlantic. Its complex life cycle involves many migrations through temperature gradients that affect the energetic demands of swimming. Previous studies have shown large intraspecific variation in swimming performance and temperature tolerance, which could include deleterious and advantageous traits under the evolutionary pressure of climate change. However, little is known of the underlying determinants of this individual variation. We investigated individual variation in temperature tolerance in 30 sea bass by exposing them to a warm temperature challenge test. The eight most temperature-tolerant and eight most temperature-sensitive fish were then studied further to determine maximal swimming speed (U CAT), aerobic scope and post-exercise oxygen consumption. Finally, ventricular contractility in each group was determined using isometric muscle preparations. The temperature-tolerant fish showed lower resting oxygen consumption rates, possessed larger hearts and initially recovered from exhaustive exercise faster than the temperature-sensitive fish. Thus, whole-animal temperature tolerance was associated with important performance traits. However, the temperature-tolerant fish also demonstrated poorer maximal swimming capacity (i.e. lower U CAT) than their temperature-sensitive counterparts, which may indicate a trade-off between temperature tolerance and swimming performance. Interestingly, the larger relative ventricular mass of the temperature-tolerant fish did not equate to greater ventricular contractility, suggesting that larger stroke volumes, rather than greater contractile strength, may be associated with thermal tolerance in this species.
      PubDate: 2016-01-08T00:18:35-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov060
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
  • Success stories and emerging themes in conservation physiology

    • Authors: Madliger, C. L; Cooke, S. J, Crespi, E. J, Funk, J. L, Hultine, K. R, Hunt, K. E, Rohr, J. R, Sinclair, B. J, Suski, C. D, Willis, C. K. R, Love, O. P.
      Abstract: The potential benefits of physiology for conservation are well established and include greater specificity of management techniques, determination of cause–effect relationships, increased sensitivity of health and disturbance monitoring and greater capacity for predicting future change. While descriptions of the specific avenues in which conservation and physiology can be integrated are readily available and important to the continuing expansion of the discipline of ‘conservation physiology’, to date there has been no assessment of how the field has specifically contributed to conservation success. However, the goal of conservation physiology is to foster conservation solutions and it is therefore important to assess whether physiological approaches contribute to downstream conservation outcomes and management decisions. Here, we present eight areas of conservation concern, ranging from chemical contamination to invasive species to ecotourism, where physiological approaches have led to beneficial changes in human behaviour, management or policy. We also discuss the shared characteristics of these successes, identifying emerging themes in the discipline. Specifically, we conclude that conservation physiology: (i) goes beyond documenting change to provide solutions; (ii) offers a diversity of physiological metrics beyond glucocorticoids (stress hormones); (iii) includes approaches that are transferable among species, locations and times; (iv) simultaneously allows for human use and benefits to wildlife; and (v) is characterized by successes that can be difficult to find in the primary literature. Overall, we submit that the field of conservation physiology has a strong foundation of achievements characterized by a diversity of conservation issues, taxa, physiological traits, ecosystem types and spatial scales. We hope that these concrete successes will encourage the continued evolution and use of physiological tools within conservation-based research and management plans.
      PubDate: 2016-01-05T00:13:04-08:00
      DOI: 10.1093/conphys/cov057
      Issue No: Vol. 4, No. 1 (2016)
School of Mathematical and Computer Sciences
Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh, EH14 4AS, UK
Tel: +00 44 (0)131 4513762
Fax: +00 44 (0)131 4513327
Home (Search)
Subjects A-Z
Publishers A-Z
Your IP address:
About JournalTOCs
News (blog, publications)
JournalTOCs on Twitter   JournalTOCs on Facebook

JournalTOCs © 2009-2015