Unusual aerobic performance at high temperatures in juvenile Chinook salmon, Oncorhynchus tshawytscha
Redband trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss ssp.) in southeastern Oregon inhabit high-elevation streams that exhibit extreme variability in seasonal flow and diel water temperature. Given the strong influence and potential limitations exerted by temperature on fish physiology, we were interested in how acute temperature change and thermal history influenced the physiological capabilities and biochemical characteristics of these trout. To this end, we studied wild redband trout inhabiting two streams with different thermal profiles by measuring (1) critical swimming speed (U(crit)) and oxygen consumption in the field at 12 degrees and 24 degrees C; (2) biochemical indices of energy metabolism in the heart, axial white skeletal muscle, and blood; and (3) temperature preference in a laboratory thermal gradient. Further, we also examined genetic and morphological characteristics of fish from these two streams. At 12 degrees C, maximum metabolic rate (Mo2max) and metabolic power were greater in Little Blitzen redband trout as compared with those from Bridge Creek (by 37% and 32%, respectively). Conversely, Bridge Creek and Little Blitzen trout had similar values for Mo2max and metabolic power at 24 degrees C. The U(crit) of Little Blitzen trout was similar at the two temperatures (61+/-3 vs. 57+/-4 cm s(-1)). However, the U(crit) for Bridge Creek trout increased from 62+/-3 cm s(-1) to 75+/-3 cm s(-1) when water temperature was raised from 12 degrees to 24 degrees C, and the U(crit) value at 24 degrees C was significantly greater than for Little Blitzen fish. Cost of transport was lower for Bridge Creek trout at both 12 degrees and 24 degrees C, indicating that these trout swim more efficiently than those from the Little Blitzen. Possible explanations for the greater metabolic power of Little Blitzen redband trout at 12 degrees C include increased relative ventricular mass (27%) and an elevation in epaxial white muscle citrate synthase activity (by 72%). Bridge Creek trout had 50% higher lactate dehydrogenase activity in white muscle and presumably a greater potential for anaerobic metabolism. Both populations exhibited a preferred temperature of approximately 13 degrees C and identical mitochondrial haplotypes and p53 gene allele frequencies. However, Bridge Creek trout had a more robust body form, with a relatively larger head and a deeper body and caudal peduncle. In summary, despite the short distance ( approximately 10 km) and genotypic similarity between study streams, our results indicate that phenotypic reorganization of anatomical characteristics, swimming ability at environmentally pertinent temperatures and white axial muscle ATP-producing pathways occurs in redband trout.