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Exploring the temperature optima and growth rates of Atlantic cod at the south-easterly limit of its range



Four size groups of juvenile farmed Celtic Sea cod (2.7–41.8 g) were reared at a range of constant temperatures (8–19°C). The optimum temperature for growth (Topt.G) decreased from 15.1°C for ~3 g fish to 12.5°C for ~42 g fish. A comparison of these results with those published for a more northerly population (Icelandic) suggests that there is no significant difference in the optimal temperature for growth of cod stocks within the size range studied. In contrast, the growth rates of Celtic Sea cod were lower than those derived from these established models (for a northerly stock) for small juveniles (<5 g), but similar for larger fish (>40 g). Thus, while Topt.G appears fixed across the range, there may be high plasticity in local growth performance throughout the Holarctic distribution. Some possible explanations for these differences are considered.