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Experimental manipulations of tissue oxygen supply do not affect warming tolerance of European perch

Journal article
Authors Jeroen Brijs
Fredrik Jutfelt
Timothy Clark
Albin Gräns
Andreas Ekström
Erik Sandblom
Published in Journal of Experimental Biology
Volume 218
Pages 2448-2454
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication year 2015
Published at Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Pages 2448-2454
Language en
Keywords Metabolism, Oxygen consumption, Aerobic scope, Hyperoxia, Anaemia, Temperature
Subject categories Animal physiology, Biological Sciences


A progressive inability of the cardiorespiratory system to maintain systemic oxygen supply at elevated temperatures has been suggested to reduce aerobic scope and the upper thermal limit of aquatic ectotherms. However, few studies have directly investigated the dependence of thermal limits on oxygen transport capacity. By manipulating oxygen availability (via environmental hyperoxia) and blood oxygen carrying capacity (via experimentally-induced anemia) in European perch (Perca fluviatilis, Linneaus), we investigated the effects of oxygen transport capacity on aerobic scope and the critical thermal maximum (CTmax). Hyperoxia resulted in a two-fold increase in aerobic scope at the control temperature of 23°C, but this did not translate to an elevated CTmax in comparison with control fish (34.6±0.1°C vs. 34.0±0.5°C, respectively). Anemia (∼43% reduction in haemoglobin concentration) did not cause a reduction in aerobic scope nor CTmax (33.8±0.3°C) compared with control fish. Additionally, oxygen consumption rates of anemic perch during thermal ramping increased in a similar exponential manner as in control fish, highlighting that perch have an impressive capacity to compensate for a substantial reduction in blood oxygen carrying capacity. Taken together, these results indicate that oxygen limitation is not a universal mechanism determining the CTmax of fishes.

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