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Coping with climatic extremes: Dietary fat content decreased the thermal resilience of barramundi (Lates calcarifer)

Gomez Isaza, D.F.ORCID: 0000-0003-3112-8683, Cramp, R.L., Smullen, R., Glencross, B.D. and Franklin, C.E. (2019) Coping with climatic extremes: Dietary fat content decreased the thermal resilience of barramundi (Lates calcarifer). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology, 230 . pp. 64-70.

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Aquatic organisms, including important cultured species, are forced to contend with acute changes in water temperature as the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events worsen. Acute temperature spikes are likely to threaten aquaculture species, but dietary intervention may play an important protective role. Increasing the concentration of macronutrients, for example dietary fat content, may improve the thermal resilience of aquaculture species, however, this remains unexplored. To evaluate this hypothesis, we used two commercially available diets (20% versus 10% crude fat) to examine if dietary fat content improves the growth performance of juvenile barramundi (Lates calcarifer) while increasing their resilience to acute thermal stress. Fish were fed their assigned diets for 28-days before assessing the upper thermal tolerance (CTMAX) and the thermal sensitivity of swimming performance (UCRIT) and metabolism. We found that feeding fish a high fat diet resulted in heavier fish, but did not affect the thermal sensitivity of swimming performance or metabolism over an 18 °C temperature range (from 20 to 38 °C). Thermal tolerance was compromised in fish fed the high fat diet by 0.48 °C, showing significantly lower CTMAX. Together, these results suggest that while a high fat diet increases juvenile L. calcarifer growth, it does not benefit physiological performance across a range of relevant water temperatures and may even reduce fish tolerance of extreme water temperatures. These data may have implications for aquaculture production in a warming world, where episodic extremes of temperature are likely to become more frequent.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2019 Elsevier Inc.
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