Swimming performance in juvenile shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum): the influence of time interval and velocity increments on critical swimming tests

Downie, Adam T., and Kieffer, James D. (2017) Swimming performance in juvenile shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum): the influence of time interval and velocity increments on critical swimming tests. Conservation Physiology, 5 (1).

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The most utilized method to measure swimming performance of fishes has been the critical swimming speed (UCrit) test. In this test, the fish is forced to swim against an incrementally increasing flow of water until fatigue. Before the water velocity is increased, the fish swims at the water velocity for a specific, pre-arranged time interval. The magnitude of the velocity increments and the time interval for each swimming period can vary across studies making the comparison between and within species difficult. This issue has been acknowledged in the literature, however, little empirical evidence exists that tests the importance of velocity and time increments on swimming performance in fish. A practical application for fish performance is through the design of fishways that enable fish to bypass anthropogenic structures (e. g. dams) that block migration routes, which is one of the causes of world-wide decline in sturgeon populations. While fishways will improve sturgeon conservation, they need to be specifically designed to accommodate the swimming capabilities specific for sturgeons, and it is possible that current swimming methodologies have under-estimated the swimming performance of sturgeons. The present study assessed the UCrit of shortnose sturgeon using modified UCrit to determine the importance of velocity increment (5 and 10 cm s(-1)) and time (5, 15 and 30 min) intervals on swimming performance. UCrit was found to be influenced by both time interval and water velocity. UCrit was generally lower in sturgeon when they were swum using 5cm s(-1) compared with 10 cm s(-1) increments. Velocity increment influences the UCrit more than time interval. Overall, researchers must consider the impacts of using particular swimming criteria when designing their experiments.

Item ID: 50607
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2051-1434
Keywords: Acipenser brevirostrum, critical swim speed test, exercise physiology, shortnose sturgeon, swimming methodology, UCrit
Additional Information:

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
Projects and Grants: NSERC Discovery Grant #194098
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 10:26
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310901 Animal behaviour @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3109 Zoology > 310910 Animal physiology - systems @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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