Depth and muscle temperature of Pacific bluefin tuna examined with acoustic and pop-up satellite archival tags
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Six Pacific bluefin tuna were tracked with ultrasonic telemetry and two with pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) in the eastern Pacific Ocean in 1997, 1998, and 1999. Both pressure and temperature ultrasonic transmitters were used to examine the behavior of the 2- to 4-year-old bluefin tuna. The bluefin spent over 80% of their time in the top 40 m of the water column and made occasional dives into deeper, cooler water. The mean slow-oxidative muscle temperatures of three fish instrumented with pressure and temperature transmitters were 22.0–26.1 °C in water temperatures that averaged 15.7–17.5 °C. The thermal excesses in slow-oxidative muscle averaged 6.2–8.6 °C. Variation in the temperature of the slow-oxidative muscle in the bluefin was not correlated with water temperature or swimming speeds. For comparison with the acoustic tracking data we examined the depth and ambient temperature of two Pacific bluefin tagged with pop-up satellite archival tags for 24 and 52 days. The PSAT data sets show depth and temperature distributions of the bluefin tuna similar to the acoustic data set. Swimming speeds calculated from horizontal distances with the acoustic data indicate the fish mean speeds were 1.1–1.4 fork lengths/s (FL s−1). These Pacific bluefin spent the majority of their time in the top parts of the water column in the eastern Pacific Ocean in a pattern similar to that observed for yellowfin tuna.
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