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Energetic Responses of Salmon to Temperature. A Study of Some Thermal Relations in the Physiology and Freshwater Ecology of Sockeye Salmon (Oncorhynchus nerkd)

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/icb/11.1.99 99-113 First published online: 1 February 1971


SYNOPSIS. Studies on the relation of temperature to tolerance, preference, metabolic rate, performance, circulation, and growth of sockeye salmon all point to a physiological optimum in the region of 15°C. Natural occurrence is limited in time and space at temperatures above 18°C despite being able to tolerate 24°C. Forms of physiological inadequacy can be demonstrated which account for such restrictions in distribution. Predictive power for locating and accounting for concentrations of young fish in thermally stratified lakes appeared to provide “proof” for the controlling influence of the physiological optimum temperature. Early literature on the ecology of sockeye supported this view. Recent studies using midwater trawls and sonar detection reveal a diurnal behavior pattern which points to a more subtle interaction of biotic andabiotic factors governing vertical distribution in which the controlling force appears to be bioenergetic efficiency. It is concluded that a mechanism of behavioral thermoregulation has evolved which favorably balances daily metabolic expenditures in order to conserve energy when food is limited.

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