Physiological consequences of “premature freshwater return” for wild sea-run brown trout ( Salmo trutta ) postsmolts infested with sea lice ( Lepeophtheirus salmonis )

Alan Wells, Christal E Grierson, Laura Marshall, Monique MacKenzie, Iain J Russon, Helena Reinardy, Rolf Sivertsgård, Pål A Bjørn, Bengt Finstad, Sjoerd E Wendelaar Bonga, Christopher D Todd, Neil Hazon

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29 Citations (Scopus)


The physiological consequences of "premature migratory return" to freshwater for wild sea-run brown trout (Salmo trutta) smolts infested with sea lice (Lepeoplitheirus salmonis) were investigated in the laboratory. Osmoregulatory, metabolic, and stress markers were analysed in order to assess the potential consequences of transfer to freshwater, 19 days after the challenge with L. salmonis. Infestation intensity was significantly reduced following transfer to freshwater, and mortality rates were markedly higher in infested fish maintained in seawater vs. fish that were transferred to freshwater. Significant sea lice effects, consistent across a number of physiological markers, were apparent once L. salmonis developed to the mobile stages. Plasma chloride, lactate, and cortisol all were significantly higher than control values, and liver glycogen concentration was significantly reduced in infested fish in seawater. After return to freshwater, these physiological measures returned to control levels, but significant lice effects persisted for fish maintained in seawater. Premature return of infested sea-run brown trout to freshwater does, therefore, confer significant short-term physiological benefits across a range of osmoregulatory, metabolic, and stress markers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1360-1369
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2007


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