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J Comp Physiol B. 2001 Mar;171(2):91-101.

Family origin and the response of threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus, to thermal acclimation.

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Département de biologie, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.


To establish whether family origin affects the response of the threespine stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to thermal acclimation, we examined the rates of feeding, growth, and food conversion, relative tissue and organ masses and activities of a mitochondrial and a glycolytic enzyme in pectoral and axial muscle of individually housed fish from six families during acclimation to 8 degrees C and 23 degrees C. Feeding rates differed among families but were consistently higher in warm-acclimated than cold-acclimated fish. Growth rates differed among families. In four families growth was greater at 8 degrees C; these families generally had higher conversion efficiencies at 8 degrees C than 23 degrees C. For two families, growth was greater at 23 degrees C than 8 degrees C and conversion efficiencies did not differ between 8 degrees C and 23 degrees C. Relative tissue and organ masses (percent axial muscle, hepatosomatic, gut and kidney indices) differed with gender and among families (hepatosomatic, gut and kidney indices) but little with acclimation status. In all families and in both muscles, activities of the mitochondrial enzyme, citrate synthase (CS), were increased by cold acclimation. Axial muscle levels of the glycolytic enzyme, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), were not affected by thermal acclimation or family origin, but were strongly correlated with the hepatosomatic index and axial muscle protein content. Pectoral muscle levels of LDH were affected by family origin which also influenced the response to thermal acclimation. Similar patterns were observed for specific activities and total muscle contents of these enzymes. Stickleback family origin influenced rates of feeding and growth and the thermal sensitivity of growth rates but not the compensatory increase in muscle CS levels with cold acclimation. The differing thermal sensitivities of growth could reflect distinct strategies for the timing of juvenile growth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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