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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Swimming in four goldfish (Carassius auratus) morphotypes: understanding functional design and performance through artificial selection Li, Jason


Although artificially selected goldfish exhibit swimming performance decrements, with the most derived morphotypes more affected, they can be utilized to explore functional design and movement pattern principles in aquatic vertebrates. Drag, steady swimming kinematics (tailbeat frequency, amplitude, stride length), energetics (standard and active metabolic rate), fast-start performance (average and maximum velocity and acceleration), stability in yaw and roll and propulsive muscle ultrastructural characteristics (mitochondrial volume density and spacing, myofibril diameter and capillary to fibre ratio in red and white muscle) were measured for four morphotypes: common, comet, fantail and eggfish, of comparable length (≈ 5 cm). A performance “pairing” (common and comet; fantail and eggfish) was a recurrent theme for most performance parameters. Vertebral numbers (30), segment lengths (≈ 0.85 mm) and standard metabolic rates (≈ 140 mg O2 kg-1 hr-1) are exceptions where values are the same. Fantail and eggfish drag and drag coefficients (referenced to frontally projected area ≈ 0.6 - 0.9) were higher (requiring more thrust at any given velocity) than those for the more streamlined common and comet (≈ 0.3 - 0.6; P < 0.05). This is reflected in kinematics; tailbeat frequency and stride length at any given velocity for the common and comet are lower and higher respectively than that of the fantail and eggfish (P < 0.05). Common and comet fatigue times are not significantly different from that of their ancestor, Crucian carp (P > 0.05), and are lower than those of the fantail and eggfish (P < 0.05). The cost of transport of the common and comet (≈ 0.6 mg O2 kg-1 m-1) is accurately predicted from the mass scaling relationship for fish (P > 0.05), but values for the fantail and eggfish (≈ 1.3 mg O2 kg-1 m-1) are not (P < 0.05). Eggfish steady swimming (dorsal fin absent) was characterized by rolling and yawing motions associated with significant energy losses. Common and comet fast-start performance (average velocity ≈ 0.45 m s-1, maximum velocity ≈ 1.2 m s-1, average acceleration ≈ 7.5 m s-2, maximum acceleration ≈ 35 m s-2) was similar to that of other locomotor generalists (e.g. trout). Eggfish maximum acceleration (≈ 5 m s-2) is poor due to the absence of inertial and lifting contributions to thrust from the dorsal fin and energy wasting rolling motions. Artificially selected fish can bear upon fitness related adaptations associated with form and movement, providing insights into the “performance envelope” of natural systems subject to ecological speciation.

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