The effects of fasting on aspects of thermal tolerance in juvenile shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum)

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University of New Brunswick


Sturgeon populations continue to decline because of damming of rivers (water diversion) and climate change. Both factors can affect the thermal profiles of the river, which can modify a species’ food resources. Studies on the stress response in sturgeon examine the impacts of a single stressor. The current study investigated the effects of food deprivation on the critical thermal tolerance (CTmax) and the physiology of shortnose sturgeon; the goal was to understand how fasting interacts with the physiological performance of sturgeon when challenged with am temperature stress. The CTmax and physiological responses of juvenile shortnose sturgeon fasted for one, three and seven days were investigated. CTmax did not change with increasing fasting levels. Plasma glucose, lactate and osmolality increased following thermal stress, but did not differ between different fasting periods. Overall, sturgeon can tolerate thermal stress well; however, the mechanism involved in thermal tolerance is unlikely related to nutritional status.