Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 96, Issue 12, pp 1389–1397 | Cite as

Effects of temperature on hardhead minnow (Mylopharodon conocephalus) blood-oxygen equilibria

  • Robert C. Kaufman
  • Robert Coalter
  • Nancy L. Nordman
  • Dennis Cocherell
  • Joseph J. CechJr.
  • Lisa C. Thompson
  • Nann A. Fangue


Habitat perturbations, including dam construction with consequent temperature changes and the introduction of non-native species to California’s mid- to low-elevation streams, have negatively influenced some native fish populations’ historic distribution and abundance. Populations of hardhead, Mylopharodon conocephalus (Cyprinidae), have experienced such population declines, but environmental temperature effects on this large (to 60 cm SL), native species are poorly documented. We measured temperature effects on in vitro blood-oxygen affinity and equilibrium curve shape, key dynamics of the species’ oxygen-transport system, derived from blood collected from wild-caught hardhead. Over an 11–30 °C temperature range, the half-saturation value (P50, an inverse measure of affinity) increased with the temperature from 0.51 to 1.80 kPa for low-PCO2 (“arterial”) treatments and from 2.02 to 2.92 kPa for high-PCO2 (“venous”) treatments. The apparent heat of oxygenation (temperature effect) was higher at temperatures > (absolute value) 19 °C. Therefore, hardhead’s blood has a decreased ability to bind oxygen at its gills at temperatures ≥25 °C, compared to that at temperatures ≤19 °C. The hardhead’s Bohr factors (Ф), non-bicarbonate buffer values (β), nucleoside triphosphate (NTP) concentrations, blood oxygen capacities (CBO2), and mildly sigmoid-shaped oxygen equilibrium curves showed no relationship with temperature. Overall, their blood-oxygen equilibria suggest that hardhead can tolerate moderate hypoxia and temperature variations in its environment and that they have some capacity for sustained, high-aerobic activity.


Temperature Carbon dioxide Blood Bohr factor Hardhead 



We thank Paciencia Young for her assistance in identifying the need for this study; Kevin Thomas of the California Department of Fish and Game for assistance with our Scientific Collection Permit; Kevin Thomas, Clint Garman, Jay Rowan, and Robert Vincik of CDFG, Jann Williams of the US Forest Service—Eldorado National Forest, Rob Aramayo of Garcia and Associates, Mariska Obedzinski of California Sea Grant Extension Program, and Shawn Chase of Sonoma County Water Agency for assistance with identification of fish capture sites; Bill Center of Camp Lotus for access to the Nugget property and Bill Williams and Ed Shelton of Pacific Gas and Electric for access upstream of the Chili Bar Dam facility; Gale Higgins, Darold Perry, and Dave Hanson for providing access to Sacramento Municipal Utility District hydropower facilities; Halley Nelson, John Reardon, Brian Williamson, Oliver Patton, Bethany DeCourten, Jamilynn Poletto, Natalie Ho, Denisse Jauregui, Felipe La Luz, and Jennifer Yu with assistance in fish capture and husbandry; the Upper American River Foundation, Granite Bay Flycasters, and the Sac-Sierra Chapter of Trout Unlimited for assistance with hardhead capture; Daniel Anderson for use of his boat for hardhead capture; and E.P. Scott Weber and Paul Lutes for their advice on fish husbandry. This research was funded by California Energy Commission Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) grant PIR-08-029 and the University of California Agricultural Experiment Station (grant no. 2098-H to N.A.F.). We thank our CEC project manager Joseph O’Hagan for guidance throughout the project.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert C. Kaufman
    • 1
  • Robert Coalter
    • 1
  • Nancy L. Nordman
    • 1
  • Dennis Cocherell
    • 1
  • Joseph J. CechJr.
    • 1
  • Lisa C. Thompson
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nann A. Fangue
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation BiologyUniversity of California DavisDavisUSA
  2. 2.Center for Aquatic Biology and AquacultureUniversity of California DavisDavisUSA

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