Is it advantageous for Atlantic salmon to be triploid at lower temperatures?
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionJournal of Thermal Biology. 2020, 89 . 10.1016/j.jtherbio.2020.102548
Marine organisms living at low temperatures tend to have larger genomes and larger cells which suggest that these traits can be beneficial in colder environments. In fish, triploidy (three complete sets of chromosomes) can be induced experimentally following fertilization, which provides a model system to investigate the hypothesis that larger cells and genomes offers a physiological advantage at low temperatures. We tested this hypothesis by measuring metabolic rates and swimming performance of diploid and triploid Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) post smolts acclimated to 3 or 10.5 °C. At 10.5 °C, triploids had significantly lower maximum metabolic rates which resulted in a lower aerobic scope compared to diploids. In addition, triploids initiated ram ventilation at lower swimming speeds, providing further evidence of a reduced capacity to meet oxygen demands during strenuous activity at 10.5 °C. However, at 3 °C, metabolic rates and critical swimming speeds were similar between both ploidies, and as expected substantially lower than at 10.5 °C. Therefore, triploidy in colder environments did not provide any advantage over diploidy in terms of metabolic rate traits or swimming performance in Atlantic salmon. We therefore conclude that traits, other than aerobic scope and swimming performance, contribute to the trend for increased cell and genome size in marine ectotherms living in cold environments.