, Volume 174, Issue 2, pp 149-156

How does the cold stenothermal gadoid Lota lota survive high water temperatures during summer?

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The cold-stenothermal freshwater gadid Lota lota inhabiting the potamic regions of lowland rivers in central Europe, is exposed to summer temperatures up to 25 °C, which is far above the thermal preferendum of this species. Oxygen consumption rates, determined in field catches sampled at different times of the year, revealed that the basal metabolic rate is depressed during summer when water temperatures are high (152±16 μmol O2 100 g−1 h−1at 22 °C in July compared to 250±33 μmol O2 100 g−1 h−1 at 6 °C in November). This observation led us to investigate whether the observed depression of the metabolic rate is caused by oxygen limitation due to thermal impairment of the ventilatory system, as has been observed in other species. Determination of anaerobic end products (lactate and succinate) in the liver tissue of fish caught at different sampling dates did not show an accumulation of anaerobic end products during the summer, indicating no oxygen limitation. Measurements of enzyme activities in the white musculature and liver suggest that enzymes involved in aerobic metabolism were down-regulated during summer, which may have contributed to the observed reduction of metabolic rate.

Communicated by G. Heldmaier