, Volume 705, Issue 1, pp 135-145

A metabolic theory of ecology applied to temperature and mass dependence of N and P excretion by common carp

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Abstract

Our study used a metabolic theory of ecology (MTE) to explore scaling of metabolic rates by body size and temperature, and to predict nutrient excretion by common carp (Cyprinus carpio). At high biomasses, common carp have negative impacts on water quality, and one mechanism is excretion of the nutrients N and P. We measured whole-body and mass-specific excretion rates during summer and winter for fish of different sizes (wet mass range 28–1,196 g) to produce an allometric scaling model capable of predicting excretion at different temperatures. We found positive relationships between both dissolved and total nutrient concentrations and fish wet mass in summer and winter, with greater excretion rates in summer (mean water temperature 24.2°C) than in winter (mean water temperature 9.2°C). Mass-specific excretion rates decreased with increasing fish size, consistent with the MTE, and the temperature-adjusted model explained more variation for N excretion than for P. The proportion of dissolved nutrients (NH4 and PO4) to total nutrients increased with increasing fish size. The significance of these models is that they can be used to predict population-based nutrient excretion by common carp when thermal history, fish density and size distribution in a water body are known.

Handling editor: M. Power