Relationship of baseline and maximum glucocorticoid concentrations to migration propensity – a field test with wild sub-adult brown trout (Salmo trutta)

Sofia Jain-Schlaepfer*, Jonathan D. Midwood, Martin Hage Larsen, Kim Aarestrup, Greg King, Cory Suski, Steven J. Cooke

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Abstract

There is considerable variation in individuals’ glucocorticoid (GC) baseline status and stress responses, yet the cause and consequence of this variation remains ambiguous. Attempts to relate GC levels to fitness and life-history tradeoffs have yielded variable results. In this study, we evaluated whether baseline and post-stressor GC hormone concentrations predicted migration strategy (i.e., resident or migrant) and successful seaward migration in a partially migrating population of juvenile brown trout (<i>Salmo trutta</i> (Linnaeus, 1758)). Baseline (N=99) or post-stressor (N=102) plasma cortisol concentrations were obtained from trout and they were tagged with passive integrated transponder (PIT) and released in a natural Danish stream. Subsequently, fish were tracked with PIT reader systems and the stream was resampled for resident individuals. GC levels were not found to be associated with recapture of resident individuals or migration propensity to our first tracking station (S1), but increased baseline (and not post-stressor) GC levels were associated with increased passage from S1 to our second tracking station, which anecdotally was an area of high predation or challenge. Our study found no evidence to suggest that cortisol regulates the migration life-history in juvenile brown trout, but intermediate increases in baseline GC (and not post-stressor GC) levels may favor migration performance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Volume96
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)1346-1352
ISSN0008-4301
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Cortisol
  • Fish
  • Glucocorticoid
  • Migration
  • Stress response
  • Brown trout
  • Salmo trutta

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