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The effect of feeding frequency on the respiratory metabolism of sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) Furnell, Donald James


The three components of the aerobic respiratory metabolism of sablefish, digestion (SDA), activity, and standard metabolism, were examined separately and together as dependent variables responding to the independent variable, feeding frequency. All fish were similar in size and held within a temperature range of 8.5 - 9.5 C on a 12 hr photoperiod. Fish were studied in both 4000 L mass respirometers equipped with activity meters and in a tunnel respirometer. Identical meals were given every 4, 7, and 14 days. A fourth series of starved fish served as controls. In the mass respirometers, oxygen consumption, ammonia nitrogen excretion, and activity were monitored continuously before, during, and after acclimation to the different feeding frequencies. This permitted estimation of total metabolism, the activity and feeding components of total metabolism, standard metabolism, and protein and lipid catabolism. In the tunnel respirometer, energy expenditures at similar levels of Imposed activity were compared before and after eating to examine repartitioning of locomotor and feeding metabolism. It was found that swimming energy expenditures and standard metabolism are a sigmoid functions of ration frequency. The lowest metabolic rates are associated with the least frequent feedings and the greatest with the most frequent meals. Consequently, total and routine metabolic rates are also direct functions of ration history. The lowest metabolic rates are based on lipid oxidation as an energy source. The fish primarily oxidize proteins to meet metabolic needs when on higher rations. It is also shown that apparent specific dynamic action (SDA) results to a greater extent from catabolic rather than anabolic processes. When the dual metabolic load of locomotion and digestion threatens to exceed the aerobic metabolic scope of the fish, a physiological mechanism exists whereby oxygen supply is preferentially shunted to locomotor requirements. When spontaneously active in the mass respirometers, the activity component of metabolism is generally less than 25% of the standard metabolic rate and digestion and locomotion can proceed synchronously. When swimming spontaneously, the sablefish move at a single, probably optimal velocity regardless of ration history. The better fed fish in the experiments were active most of the day despite the low contribution of the activity component to the routine metabolic rate. These results have significance regarding assumptions often made in bioenergetic models, specifically that activity energy expenditures and standard metabolic rates are independent of ration. They reveal an adaptable physiology which applies different energy partitioning strategies to meet the changing metabolic needs of fish in a dynamic environment with a variable food supply.

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