Effects of temperature on growth and metabolism in juvenile turbot


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The effects of constant temperatures on growth, food efficiency, and physiological status were studied in four different batches of juvenile turbot. The growth responses were studied in three experiments lasting 70–85 days under 8–20° C thermal conditions. There was a positive correlation between growth and temperature from 8 to 17° C and a plateau was observed from 17 to 20° C. In fish fed to satiety, specific growth rate was positively correlated to the food intake, which was double at 20° C, compared with 8° C. Minor changes were observed in food efficiency. Body fat deposition decreased as temperature increased (25% lower at 20° C, compared with 8° C). Apparent food conversion, PER (protein efficiency ratio) and PUC (protein utilization coefficient) ranges were 0.8–0.9, 2.1–2.3 and 33–38% respectively. In 70–300 g fish, routine MO2 increased (2.5–6.5 μmol O2 h−1 g bw−1) with temperature up to 20° C, while larger turbot (500–600 g) appeared relatively thermo-independent, with a lower oxygen consumption (1.5 ìmol h−1 g−1). The average daily total ammonia nitrogen (TAN) and urea-N excretion per fish biomass was positively related to temperature. TAN was 30% lower at 8° C, compared with 20° C. Ingested nitrogen was mainly excreted under the final form of TAN, urea-N representing 26% of the total amount. A post-prandial peak in TAN and a delayed peak in urea-N nitrogen were observed. The hydromineral status [osmolarity, sodium, chloride and potassium blood plasma, gill (Na+-K+)-ATPase activity] of turbot was not affected by progressive changes in temperature during the acclimation period. Juvenile turbots show remarkable homeostatic capacities and so they have a relatively thermo-independent physiology within the range of temperature studied.