Circadian rhythm of preferred temperature in fish: Behavioural thermoregulation linked to daily photocycles in zebrafish and Nile tilapia

Luisa M Vera, Gonzalo de Alba, Silvere Santos, Tim M Szewczyk, Simon A. Mackenzie, Francisco J. Sanchez-Vazquez, Sonia Rey-Planellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
52 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Ectothermic vertebrates, e.g. fish, maintain their body temperature within a specific physiological range mainly through behavioural thermoregulation. Here, we characterise the presence of daily rhythms of thermal preference in two phylogenetically distant and well-studied fish species: the zebrafish (Danio rerio), an experimental model, and the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), an aquaculture species. We created a non-continuous temperature gradient using multichambered tanks according to the natural environmental range for each species.
Each species was allowed to freely choose their preferred temperature during the 24h cycle over a long-term period. Both species displayed strikingly consistent temporal daily rhythms of thermal preference with higher temperatures being selected during the second half of the light phase and lower temperatures at the end of the dark phase, with mean acrophases at Zeitgeber Time (ZT) 5.37 h (zebrafish) and ZT 12.5 h (tilapia). Interestingly, when moved to the experimental tank, only tilapia displayed consistent preference for higher temperatures and took longer time to establish the thermal rhythms. Our findings highlight the importance of integrating both light-driven daily rhythm and thermal choice to refine our understanding of fish biology and improve the
management and welfare of the diversity of fish species used in research and food production.
Original languageEnglish
Article number103544
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Thermal Biology
Volume113
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Zebrafish
  • Nile Tilapia
  • Temperature preference
  • Daily rythyms
  • Thermal ecology
  • Stress induced hyperthermia

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