Aquaculture International

, Volume 24, Issue 5, pp 1421–1434 | Cite as

The effect of low temperatures and photoperiods on growth and vertebra morphometry in Atlantic salmon

  • Inge Døskeland
  • Albert Kjartan D. Imsland
  • Per Gunnar Fjelldal
  • Sigurd O. Stefansson
  • Bjorn Roth
  • Katrine Eikeland Eriksen
  • Bjørn Mikalsen
  • Sigurd Handeland


The aim of this study was to reveal possible interactive effects of temperature and photoperiod on somatic and skeletal growth, feed conversion, organ indexes and blood chemistry in Atlantic salmon postsmolts. A total of 1140 (initial mean weight 96.0 g ± 3.1 SEM) juvenile Atlantic salmon reared in seawater were in duplicates exposed to six different combinations of temperatures (4.3, 6.5 or 9.3 °C) and photoperiods (continuous light, LL or simulated natural photoperiod (69ºN), LDN) for 124 days. An interactive effect of photoperiod and temperature on somatic growth was found as the fish exposed to low temperature and continuous light regime (4LL) had a significantly higher growth (30 % gain in overall SGR) than the 4LDN group, corresponding to the effect of approx. 1.2 °C temperature increase. Fish in the 6 and 9 °C groups did not show any significant growth benefit of continuous light. Compared to the 4LDN group, the 4LL group showed higher total feed conversion efficiency, lower levels of blood Na+ and lower hepato-somatic and cardio-somatic indexes. In the skeleton, cervical vertebra were largest in the 4LL group, while the length of the head was largest in the 4LDN group, continuous light promotes growth at lower temperatures while supporting a normal development. It is suggested that a considerable growth benefit may be achieved by exposing juvenile Atlantic salmon to continuous light when reared at low (in this trial 4.3 °C) water temperature during winter.


Salmon Temperature Photoperiod Growth Vertebra morphology 



Analysis of variance


Continuous light


Simulated natural photoperiod


Specific growth rate



Financial support was given by the Research Council of Norway (RFFNord, Contract: 226059 NORDLYS).


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inge Døskeland
    • 1
  • Albert Kjartan D. Imsland
    • 1
    • 2
  • Per Gunnar Fjelldal
    • 3
  • Sigurd O. Stefansson
    • 1
  • Bjorn Roth
    • 4
  • Katrine Eikeland Eriksen
    • 1
  • Bjørn Mikalsen
    • 5
  • Sigurd Handeland
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Akvaplan-niva, Iceland OfficeKópavogurIceland
  3. 3.Institute of Marine ResearchNordnes, BergenNorway
  4. 4.Department of Processing TechnologyNofimaStavangerNorway
  5. 5.Lerøy AuroraTromsøNorway
  6. 6.Uni ResearchBergenNorway

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