Temperature regime during embryogenesis alters subsequent behavioural phenotypes of juvenile brown trout.

Takatsu, Kunio; Selz, Oliver M; Brodersen, Jakob (2022). Temperature regime during embryogenesis alters subsequent behavioural phenotypes of juvenile brown trout. Biology Letters, 18(11), p. 20220369. The Royal Society 10.1098/rsbl.2022.0369

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Climate warming imposes a serious threat, especially to freshwater ecosystems in temperate and (sub)polar regions, which are often dominated by cold-adapted ectotherms. Although relatively intense warming during winter is common across the climatic regions, comparably little focus has been put on the organismal impacts of winter warming. Embryonic development, which is exceptionally susceptible to ambient temperature, occurs during winter in various freshwater ectotherms. Yet, our knowledge of the effects of increased temperature during embryogenesis on later life stages is limited. Using brown trout (Salmo trutta), we examined how a 1.5°C temperature increase from fertilization to hatching affects various traits at the onset of the free-swimming stage (i.e. a comparison between 3.5 and 5.0°C treatments). Although all hatchlings were kept at the same temperature (7.0°C) from hatching to the onset of the free-swimming stage for about two months, the temperature increase during embryogenesis substantially reduced key ecological behaviours, i.e. activity and exploration levels, at the onset of the free-swimming stage despite only marginal temperature effects on morphological and physiological traits at this stage. Given the importance of behavioural traits in early growth and survival, our study suggests a likely pathway through which subtle changes in mean winter temperature affect early fitness.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Brodersen, Jakob


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




The Royal Society




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

01 Dec 2022 11:50

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:29

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PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Salmo trutta behaviour climate change embryonic development hydropower-induced temperature changes thermal plasticity





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