Effects of temperature on specific dynamic action in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua

Bjorn Tirsgaard, Jon Christian Svendsen, John Fleng Steffensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Growth requires that energy is directed towards ingestion, digestion, absorption and assimilation of a meal; energy expenditures are often expressed as the specific dynamic action (SDA). While SDA is an important part of fish energy budgets and strongly affected by water temperature, temperature effects are not known across a wide temperature range in Atlantic cod Gadus morhua. The objective of this study was to examine effects of temperature (2, 5, 10, 15 or 20 A degrees C) on the energetic cost and time used for SDA in juvenile G. morhua by intermittent flow respirometry. At each temperature, G. morhua were fed a meal of herring (Clupea harengus) corresponding to 5 % of the body mass. Standard metabolic rates measured pre-feeding and post-feeding metabolic rates were measured to determine SDA. The study showed that SDA coefficients (%, SDA energy divided by meal energy) were significantly lower at 2 and 10 A degrees C (5.4-6.3 %) compared to 5, 15 and 20 A degrees C (10.4-12.4 %), while SDA duration increased significantly from 80 h at 10 A degrees C to 130-160 h at 2, 15 and 20 A degrees C and reached a maximum of 250 h at 5 A degrees C. The significant decrease in SDA duration at 10 A degrees C combined with a low SDA coefficient suggests that water temperatures close to 10 A degrees C may represent the optimum temperatures for SDA in this population of G. morhua. Our results suggest that SDA is not a simple function of temperature, but may vary with temperature in a more complex fashion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFish Physiology & Biochemistry
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)41-50
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • body mass
  • energetic cost
  • metabolic rate
  • specific dynamic action
  • temperature effect
  • Pisces Vertebrata Chordata Animalia (Animals, Chordates, Fish, Nonhuman Vertebrates, Vertebrates) - Osteichthyes [85206] Clupea harengus species herring common Gadus morhua species Atlantic cod common immature
  • 07504, Ecology: environmental biology - Bioclimatology and biometeorology
  • 07508, Ecology: environmental biology - Animal
  • 13002, Metabolism - General metabolism and metabolic pathways
  • Environmental Sciences
  • intermittent flow respirometry laboratory techniques
  • Climatology
  • Metabolism


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