Increased acute thermal tolerance and little change to hematology following acclimation to warm water in juvenile Striped Bass, Morone saxatilis
Striped Bass naturally inhabit a wide range of temperatures, yet little is known about the processes that control their acute and chronic temperature limits. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of temperature acclimation on acute thermal maxima and physiology of juvenile Striped Bass. Juvenile fish were acclimated to 15, 25 or 30 °C for 4 weeks, then split into two sampling groups: post-acclimation and post-critical thermal maximum trials. We found that fish survived in all acclimation temperatures with little change to underlying hematology, and that critical thermal maximum (CTmax) increased with increasing acclimation temperature. At CTmax, fish acclimated to 30 °C had elevated plasma cortisol, lactate and potassium levels. These results suggest that, while 30 °C is likely to be outside their thermal optima, Striped Bass can survive at high temperatures. This ability to cope with warm temperatures may provide an advantage with increasing global temperatures.