San Diego State University Department of Biology
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Linking swimming performance to population demography in fishes (funded by the National Science Foundation) 


Links 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. 

A collaborative effort between Todd Anderson and Colin Brauner at the University of British Columbia was focused towards exploring the ecological consequences of swimming performance in marine fishes. Working with doctoral student Jason Webber, our 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.     

This page was last modified on May 10, 2012.  

SDSU Fish Ecology Lab

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