Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 49–53 | Cite as

The effect of social stress on the Standard Metabolic Rate (SMR) of brown trout, Salmo trutta

  • K.A. Sloman
  • G. Motherwell
  • K.I. O'Connor
  • A.C. Taylor


The effect of social stress, induced by confinement in pairs, on the SMR of the brown trout, Salmo trutta (L.), was investigated. Fish were confined in pairs under laboratory conditions and allowed to establish social hierarchies, with one fish becoming dominant and the other subordinate. The change in SMR of the subordinate fish was significantly greater than that of their respective dominant. Also, the more aggressive the dominant behaved towards the subordinate with which it was paired, the greater the increase in the SMR of the subordinate fish appeared to be. It is concluded that social stress causes an increase in SMR in subordinate fish and therefore imposes a metabolic disadvantage.

cortisol metabolism oxygen consumption salmonid subordinance 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Abbott, J.C. and Dill, L.M. 1989. The relative growth of dominant and subordinate juvenile steelhead trout (Salmo gairdneri ) fed equal rations. Behaviour 108: 104–113.Google Scholar
  2. Beamish, F.W.H. 1978. Swimming capacity. In : Fish Physiology VII. pp. 101–187. Edited by W.S. Hoar and D. J. Randall. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  3. Brett, J.R. and Groves T.D.D. 1979. Physiological Energetics. In : Fish Physiology VIII. pp. 279–352. Edited by W.S. Hoar, D.J. Randall and J.R. Brett. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Cech, J.J. 1990. Respirometry. In : Methods for fish biology. pp. 335–362. Edited by C.B. Schreck and P.B. Moyle. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, M.D.Google Scholar
  5. Chan, D.K.O. and Woo, N.Y.S. 1978. Effect of cortisol on the metabolism of the eel, Anguilla japonica . Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 35: 205–215.Google Scholar
  6. Davis, L.E. and Schreck, C.B. 1997. The energetic response to handling stress in juvenile coho salmon. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 126: 248–258.Google Scholar
  7. Ejike, C. and Schreck, C.B. 1980. Stress and social hierarchy rank in coho salmon. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 109: 423–426.Google Scholar
  8. Gibson, R.N. 1967. Studies on the movements of littoral fish. J. Anim. Ecol. 36: 215–234.Google Scholar
  9. Johnsson, J.I., Jönsson, E. and Björnsson, B.T. 1996. Dominance, nutritional state, and growth hormone levels in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss ). Horm. Behav. 30: 13–21.Google Scholar
  10. Kelly, W.H. 1967. Marking freshwater and a marine fish by injecting dyes. Trans. Am. Fish. Soc. 96: 163–175.Google Scholar
  11. Laidley, C.W. and Leatherland, J.F. 1988. Cohort Sampling, anaesthesia and stocking-density effects on plasma cortisol, thyroid hormone, metabolite and ion levels in rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri Richardson. J. Fish Biol. 33: 73–88.Google Scholar
  12. Metcalfe, N.B., Huntingford, F.A., Graham, W.D. and Thorpe, J.E. 1989. Early social status and the development of life-history strategies in Atlantic salmon. Proc. Roy. Soc. Lond. B 236: 7–19.Google Scholar
  13. Metcalfe, N.B., Taylor, A.C. and Thorpe, J.E. 1995. Metabolic rate, social status and life-history strategies in Atlantic salmon. Anim. Behav. 49: 431–436.Google Scholar
  14. Morgan, J.D. and Iwama, G.K. 1996. Cortisol-induced changes in oxygen consumption and ionic regulation in coastal cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki clarki ) parr. Fish Physiol. Biochem. 15: 385–394.Google Scholar
  15. Noakes, D.L.G. and Leatherland, J.F. 1977. Social dominance and interrenal cell activity in rainbow trout, Salmo gairdneri (Pisces, Salmonidae). Env. Biol. Fish. 2: 131–136.Google Scholar
  16. Peters, G., Delventhal, H. and Klinger, H. 1980. Physiological and morphological effects of social stress in the eel, (Anguilla anguilla L.). Arch. Fisch Wiss. 30: 157–180.Google Scholar
  17. Peters, G., Faisal, M., Lang, T. and Ahmed, I. 1988. Stress caused by social interaction and its effect on susceptibility to Aeromonas hydrophila infection in rainbow trout Salmo gairdneri . Dis. Aquat. Org. 4: 83–89.Google Scholar
  18. Pottinger, T.G. and Pickering, A.D. 1992. The influence of social interaction on the acclimation of rainbow trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss (Walbaum) to chronic stress. J. Fish Biol. 41: 435–447.Google Scholar
  19. Steffensen, J.F. 1989. Some errors in respirometry of aquatic breathers: how to avoid and correct for them. Fish Physiol. Biochem. 6: 49–59.Google Scholar
  20. Weiss, R.F. 1970. The solubility of nitrogen, oxygen and argon in water and seawater. Deep-Sea Res. 17: 721–735.Google Scholar
  21. Wirtz, P. and Davenport, J. 1976. Increased oxygen consumption in blennies (Blennius pholis L.) exposed to their mirror images. J. Fish Biol. 9: 67–74.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • K.A. Sloman
    • 1
  • G. Motherwell
    • 1
  • K.I. O'Connor
    • 1
  • A.C. Taylor
    • 1
  1. 1.Fish Biology Group, Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowScotland

Personalised recommendations