, Volume 705, Issue 1, pp 119–134 | Cite as

Organic pollution induces domestication-like characteristics in feral populations of brown trout (Salmo trutta)

  • Fernando CoboEmail author
  • Javier Sánchez-Hernández
  • Rufino Vieira-Lanero
  • María J. Servia
Primary Research Paper


Sewage pollutants may impair growth or survival of the freshwater biota, though animals might benefit from the extra food availability as production increases. We examined biochemical (muscle glycogen), morphological (condition factor and hepatosomatic index), and diet biomarkers in brown trout for evaluating the effects of chronic exposure to organic pollution. Trout were collected at three locations: ST1 downstream of a trout farm, ST2 affected by the effluents of a wastewater treatment plant and ST3, the reference site. Individuals at polluted sites showed high hepatosomatic index, although no differences were found between ST2 and ST3 for the condition factor. A significant reduction was detected in the levels of muscle glycogen of individuals captured at polluted sites. Moreover, trout diet in these rivers was dominated quantitatively by Chironomidae and Simuliidae, in contrast with the diverse diet of individuals at ST3. Remarkably, individuals at polluted sites showed high stomach fullness and energy gut values, which might be considered as a case of hyperphagia. Our findings suggest that food surplus in organic enriched sites, in the form of high densities of macroinvertebrates, provide an environment similar to that of domesticated animals, where individuals might adopt less energetically costly behavioural strategies to ingest more food.


Organic pollution Glycogen Morphometric indices Diet Hyperphagia 



Part of this study has been carried out in the laboratories of the Station of Hydrobiology of USC ‘Encoro do Con’ in Vilagarcía de Arousa. This study has been partially supported by the project 10PXIB2111059PR of the Xunta de Galicia, FEDER funds through project CGL2009-10868 of the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the project MIGRANET of the Interreg IV B SUDOE (South-West Europe) Territorial Cooperation Programme (SOE2/P2/E288). The authors gratefully acknowledge the comments of three anonymous reviewers.

Supplementary material

10750_2012_1386_MOESM1_ESM.doc (52 kb)
Appendix A Macroinvertebrate traits, categories and codes used in analyses and graphics. Based on de Crespin de Billy and Usseglio-Polatera (2002) (DOC 53 kb)
10750_2012_1386_MOESM2_ESM.doc (143 kb)
Appendix B Trout diet composition. Number of prey (N), abundance (A i ) and frequency of occurrence (F i ). ST1: River Traba; ST2: River Sar and ST3: River Rois.*Not identified (DOC 143 kb)
10750_2012_1386_MOESM3_ESM.tif (101.5 mb)
Appendix C Complementary biplots of ecological traits analyses obtained from a fuzzy principal component analysis (FPCA) showing no differences among sites (TIF 101 mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernando Cobo
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Javier Sánchez-Hernández
    • 2
    • 3
  • Rufino Vieira-Lanero
    • 2
  • María J. Servia
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal Biology, Vegetal Biology and Ecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of A CoruñaCoruñaSpain
  2. 2.Station of Hydrobiology “Encoro do Con”Vilagarcía de Arousa, PontevedraSpain
  3. 3.Department of Zoology and Physical Anthropology, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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