Phenotypic Differences in Buoyancy and Energetics of Lean and Siscowet Lake Charr in Lake Superior
- Cite this article as:
- Henderson, B.A. & Anderson, D.M. Environmental Biology of Fishes (2002) 64: 203. doi:10.1023/A:1016023027437
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At least two phenotypes of lake charr, Salvelinus namaycush, coexist in Lake Superior. A lean morph frequents the shallow inshore waters (< 50 m) and the fat morph (siscowet) occupies the deeper offshore waters (50–250 m). The objective of this study was to determine if the elevated lipid concentration of siscowets reduces the costs of swimming in deep water. First, we modelled the effects of body composition (lipids) on the costs of swimming by lake charr, and then compared these theoretical results with empirical evidence obtained from Cesium 137-based estimates of food consumption, gross energy conversion, and swimming costs (activity multiplier). The attributes of growth, energy content (kJ g-1), lipid concentrations, and Cesium 137 concentration (Bq g-1) were obtained from multimesh gillnet catches in eastern Lake Superior (1998 and 1999). The model showed that siscowet (fat) lake charr expended less energy than lean lake charr moving through the water column. Empirical evidence derived from Cesium 137 analysis confirmed that the activity multipliers of siscowets (fat) were less than those for lean charr. These findings support the view that the restoration of the fish community of the predominately deep water of the Great Lakes might be facilitated by the introduction of the fat phenotype.