Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 86, Issue 3, pp 361–370 | Cite as

Evidence of phenotypic plasticity and local adaption in metabolic rates between components of the Icelandic cod (Gadus morhua L.) stock

  • Timothy B. GrabowskiEmail author
  • Shawn P. Young
  • Lísa A. Libungan
  • Agnar Steinarsson
  • Guðrún Marteinsdóttir


Phenotypic plasticity and local adaptations are important considerations in delineating population structure of marine fishes and critical to their conservation and management. We compared the weight-specific oxygen consumption rates (VO2/M) of juvenile cod from the northern and southern components of the Icelandic stock acclimated to 4.0°C, 8.5°C, and 12.6°C and their metabolic response to abrupt temperatures changes within this range. Southern individuals exhibited VO2/M up to 50% higher than their northern counterparts when tested at their acclimation temperature. However, northern fish generally experienced greater changes in VO2/M, three to six-fold increases, relative to that expected at acclimation when moved to higher temperatures. Southern cod showed a greater decrease in VO2/M when exposed to lower temperatures. Our results indicate physiological differences exist between the northern and southern components of the Icelandic cod stock and warrant considering them as two distinct populations.


Thermal physiology Chamber respirometry Common garden experiment Population structure Atlantic cod Iceland 



We thank Á. Gunnarsson and T. Sveinsson of the Marine Research Institute, Iceland; Capt. J. Á. Jónsson and the crew of the Friðrik Sigurðsson; Capt. G. Gunnarsson and the crew of the Þorleifur EA; and J.P. Jónasson, B. McAdam, and L. Stefansdóttir of the University of Iceland for their assistance in capturing broodstock for this experiment. We also thank M. Oddgeirsson, N. Jónsson, K. Sigurðsson and R. Guðmundsson at the Marine Research Laboratory in Grindavík for their assistance in hatching, rearing, and maintaining the larval and juvenile cod used in this study. Funding for this study was provided by the Marine Research Institute, Iceland; the University of Iceland Research Fund; and the Fisheries Project Fund of the Icelandic Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. The comments and suggestions of four anonymous reviewers greatly improved an earlier draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy B. Grabowski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shawn P. Young
    • 2
  • Lísa A. Libungan
    • 1
  • Agnar Steinarsson
    • 3
  • Guðrún Marteinsdóttir
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of BiologyUniversity of IcelandReykjavikIceland
  2. 2.Department of Fish and Wildlife ResourcesUniversity of IdahoMoscowUSA
  3. 3.Marine Research LaboratoryMarine Research InstituteGrindavíkIceland

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