The time course of osmoregulatory adjustments and expressional changes of three key ion transporters in the gill were investigated in the striped bass during salinity acclimations. In three experiments, fish were transferred from fresh water (FW) to seawater (SW), from SW to FW, and from 15-ppt brackish water (BW) to either FW or SW, respectively. Each transfer induced minor deflections in serum [Na+] and muscle water content, both being corrected rapidly (24 hr). Transfer from FW to SW increased gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity and Na+,K+,2Cl- co-transporter expression after 3 days. Abundance of Na+,K+-ATPase alpha-subunit mRNA and protein was unchanged. Changes in Na+,K+,2Cl- co-transporter protein were preceded by increased mRNA expression after 24 hr. Expression of V-type H+-ATPase mRNA decreased after 3 days. Transfer from SW to FW induced no change in expression of gill Na+,K+-ATPase. However, Na+,K+,2Cl- co-transporter mRNA and protein levels decreased after 24 hr and 7 days, respectively. Expression of H+-ATPase mRNA increased in response to FW after 7 days. In BW fish transferred to FW and SW, gill Na+,K+-ATPase activity was stimulated by both challenges, suggesting both a hyper- and a hypo-osmoregulatory response of the enzyme. Acclimation of striped bass to SW occurs on a rapid time scale. This seems partly to rely on the relative high abundance of gill Na+,K+-ATPase and Na+,K+,2Cl- co-transporter in FW fish. In a separate study, we found a smaller response to SW in expression of these ion transport proteins in striped bass when compared with the less euryhaline brown trout. In both FW and SW, NEM-sensitive gill H+-ATPase activity was negligible in striped bass and approximately 10-fold higher in brown trout. This suggests that in striped bass Na+-uptake in FW may rely more on a relatively high abundance/activity of Na+,K+-ATPase compared to trout, where H+-ATPase is critical for establishing a thermodynamically favorable gradient for Na+-uptake.