swimming performance to population demography in fishes (funded by
the National Science Foundation)
between physiological processes and their ecological consequences to individuals
and populations are poorly understood despite suggestions that such links may
have important implications. Both ecologists and physiologists have
underscored the need to couple
physiology and population ecology in explaining variation in recruitment success
and the ecological relevancy of physiological condition or performance, respectively.
collaborative effort between Todd Anderson and Colin Brauner at the
of British Columbia was focused towards exploring the ecological consequences of
swimming performance in marine fishes. Working with doctoral student Jason
goal was to provide a means of coupling swimming performance with the survival of recent settlers
of a temperate reef fish, the kelp bass, Paralabrax clathratus. We employed a completely novel approach in which submersible swim tunnels
were developed and fabricated so that they could be deployed in the field for in situ
measurements of swimming performance, with the potential to relate swimming
performance to subsequent growth and mortality. Our
approach was meant to reduce as much as possible any effects of handling stress
from collection and laboratory-based trials in
recording physiological measurements.
Six tunnels were constructed, and several swimming performance trials of recruit
kelp bass were conducted and compared to those conducted in the laboratory. There were no differences in performance between field and laboratory trials,
making this a viable approach for laboratory research. The development of these
tunnels also will allow for future field research on the role of swimming
performance in the population ecology of fishes.