Published 2005

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Publication details

Journal : Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences , vol. 62 , p. 195–204 , 2005

Publisher : NRC Research Press

International Standard Numbers :
Printed : 0706-652X
Electronic : 1205-7533

Publication type : Academic article

Contributors : Aas-Hansen, Øyvind; Vijayan, Mathilakath M; Johnsen, Helge K; Cameron, Colin; Jørgensen, Even Hjalmar

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Anadromous Arctic char (Salvelinus alpinus) migrate to seawater every summer for feeding and spend the rest of the year overwintering in fresh water. We investigated whether annual seawater migration is preceded by changes in hyposmoregulatory capacity, intermediary metabolism, and the plasma levels of hormones known to play a role in salmonid seawater preadaptation (smoltification). Wild, anadromous Arctic char were sampled in their overwintering lake in April and May and during the period of downstream migration in June. Our results demonstrate a fourfold seasonal increase in gill Na+/K+ ATPase activity, with maximum levels in descending migrants that also displayed prime hyposmoregulatory capacity. Hepatosomatic index and activities of key liver enzymes also increased during spring, indicating a general increase in liver metabolic capacity. These changes were accompanied by increased plasma cortisol and thyroxine levels, decreased plasma growth hormone levels, and unchanged plasma levels of insulin-like growth factor-I and 3,5,3'-triiodothyronine. Our results indicate that wild, anadromous Arctic char resmoltify every spring, and this involves a shift from an energy-conserving overwintering state to a state where they become osmotically and metabolically prepared for their annual feeding migration to seawater.