, Volume 180, Issue 5, pp 673-684
Date: 10 Jan 2010

Simultaneous biologging of heart rate and acceleration, and their relationships with energy expenditure in free-swimming sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

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Monitoring the physiological status and behaviour of free-swimming fishes remains a challenging task, although great promise stems from techniques such as biologging and biotelemetry. Here, implanted data loggers were used to simultaneously measure heart rate (f H), visceral temperature, and a derivation of acceleration in two groups of wild adult sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) held at two different water speeds (slow and fast). Calibration experiments performed with individual fish in a swim tunnel respirometer generated strong relationships between acceleration, f H, tail beat frequency and energy expenditure over a wide range of swimming velocities. The regression equations were then used to estimate the overall energy expenditure of the groups of fish held at different water speeds. As expected, fish held at faster water speeds exhibited greater f H and acceleration, and correspondingly a higher estimated energy expenditure than fish held at slower water speeds. These estimates were consistent with gross somatic energy density of fish at death, as determined using proximate analyses of a dorsal tissue sample. Heart rate alone and in combination with acceleration, rather than acceleration alone, provided the most accurate proxies for energy expenditure in these studies. Even so, acceleration provided useful information on the behaviour of fish and may itself prove to be a valuable proxy for energy expenditure under different environmental conditions, using a different derivation of the acceleration data, and/or with further calibration experiments. These results strengthen the possibility that biologging or biotelemetry of f H and acceleration may be usefully applied to migrating sockeye salmon to monitor physiology and behaviour, and to estimate energy use in the natural environment.

Communicated by I. D. Hume.