Environment-dependent plasticity and ontogenetic changes in the brain of hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon

J. Näslund, Martin Hage Larsen, S.T. Thomassen, Kim Aarestrup, J. I. Johnsson

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Abstract

Lowered rearing density has repeatedly been shown to increase the performance of hatchery-reared salmonids stocked into natural environments. One possible mechanism for this pattern could be that lower densities enhance brain development, which has been shown to be the case in other hatchery enhancement strategies, like environmental enrichment. Here, we investigated the size of the brain in hatcheryreared Atlantic salmon Salmo salar kept at standard (high) and reduced (low) tank densities. In contrast to our predictions, we found that fish reared at high density had larger dry mass of cerebellum and telencephalon, correcting for body size. No differences were detected for total brain mass. Furthermore, we found that the relative size of both telencephalon and cerebellum, in relation to total brain mass, changed with body size. Cerebellum increased in relative size with increased body size, while the opposite pattern was observed for telencephalon. Overall, these results reveal substantial brain plasticity depending on the surrounding environment
as well as ontogenetic adaptive changes in the brain of the Atlantic salmon
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Zoology
Volume301
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)75–82
ISSN0952-8369
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

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