Does condition of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) have a greater impact upon swimming performance at Ucrit or sprint speeds?
Individual Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) were exercised using three different measures of swimming performance. (1) An endurance test (critical swimming speed, U(crit), protocol) designed to assess predominantly aerobic endurance swimming (duration hours). (2) An acceleration test (U(burst)), in which the fish were required to swim against a rapidly increasing current until exhausted (duration minutes). This test was designed to assess predominantly glycolytic-based swimming capacity. (3) A sprint test that examined the animals' ability to swim away from a sudden stimulus (duration seconds). Rates of oxygen consumption ( mdot (O2)) during the endurance test and various morphological variables of the individual fish were also measured. Both aerobic and anaerobic swimming performance of individual cod were found to be significantly repeatable over a 3 month period. mdot (O2) during the U(crit) protocol was also significantly repeatable at intermediate to high swimming speeds, but not at low speeds. Our results support extrapolation from metabolic rates at incremented swimming speeds to zero activity as the best way to measure standard metabolic rate in cod. While performance in the U(crit) test and the sprint test were positively correlated, there was a negative correlation between performance in the U(crit) test and performance in the U(burst) test. This implies a potential trade-off in individual cod between stamina and the ability to use glycolytic-based locomotion. Inter-individual variation in swimming performance during these protocols, while substantial, was not correlated with individual variation in fin surface areas, age or morphology. However, U(burst) performance was dependent upon the sex of the animals, while performance during the U(crit) protocol was significantly correlated with their aerobic scope for activity.