Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 157–163 | Cite as

Physiological responses to continuous swimming in wild salmon (Salmo salar L.) parr and smolt

  • Erkki Virtanen
  • Leena Forsman


Wild salmon (Salmo salar) parr and smolt were forced to swim against constant flow (50 cm.s−1) for 8 hours. Physiological properties describing the hormonal status, the energy metabolism and the ionic and osmotic balance of fish were measured from the fish prior to and at the end of the swimming test.

Plasma cortisol levels were elevated in response to enforced swimming; the response of the smolt was clearly greater than that of the parr. Plasma thyroxine concentration increased in the parr but stayed at the initial level in the smolts. The parr consumed much of their coelomic fat, but the glycogen stores stayed nearly constant. The smolts had very low fat stores, and the glycogen stores were depleted in the test. The ionic and osmotic balance of the parr was stable in the test, but in smolts, the plasma Cl−1 and osmotic concentrations decreased and muscle moisture increased.

The results indicate that downstream migration smolts have markedly lower physiological capacity for continuous swimming than parr.


Atlantic salmon swimming performance exercise smoltification thyroxine cortisol energy metabolism osmoregulation 


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Copyright information

© Kugler Publications 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erkki Virtanen
    • 1
  • Leena Forsman
    • 1
  1. 1.The Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute and the Institute of Zoology, Department of PhysiologyUniversity of HelsinkiFinland

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