Life in the fast lane: The free-ranging activity, heart rate and metabolism of an Antarctic fish tracked in temperate waters

HA Campbell, KPP Fraser, LS Peck, CM Bishop, Stuart Egginton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Citations (Scopus)


The fish species Notothenia angustata inhabits temperate waters (10 degrees C, yet retains physiological traits that show it once existed at sub-zero temperatures. We determined the free-ranging activity, heart rate and metabolism of N. angustata and compared it with Notothenia coriiceps, an ecologically and morphologically congeneric cousin that still inhabits sub-zero waters. Firstly, the association between heart rate (fH) and oxygen consumption MO2) was first determined in the laboratory. The fish were then released into their respective environments and fH recorded by a miniature archival electronic tag, from which the metabolic rate of the free-ranging fish was extrapolated. Free-ranging activity of wild fish was monitored throughout the study using implanted acoustic tags and a static hydrophone array. Results showed that the difference in standard metabolic rate (SMR) between N. angustata and N. coriiceps fitted the Arrhenius model for inter-species thermal sensitivity in fish (Q(10)= 1.76). However, the interspecies disparity in total metabolic rate (TMR) was far greater. This was attributable to N. angustata swimming at higher speeds and covering a 5-fold greater area over 24 It compared with N. coriiceps. As a result, activity (and associated feeding) comprised a far larger portion of TMR in N. angustata (27.9%) than for N. coriiceps (5.7%). We conclude that the increased time spent swimming by N. angustata was presumably to forage for food to acquire sufficient energy to fuel its elevated SMR. This resulted in a much greater inter-species difference in TMR than may be predicted by the disparity in environmental temperature. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-151
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2007


  • acclimatisation
  • telemetry
  • notothemoid
  • temperature
  • adaptation


Dive into the research topics of 'Life in the fast lane: The free-ranging activity, heart rate and metabolism of an Antarctic fish tracked in temperate waters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this