The Acclimation of European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) to Temperature: Behavioural and Neurochemical Responses

Studies on fish behavioural and neurophysiological responses to water temperature change may contribute to an improved understanding of the ecological consequences of global warming. We investigated behavioural and neurochemical responses to water temperature in European sea bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) acclimated to three temperatures (18, 22 and 28 degrees C). After 21d of acclimation, three groups of 25 fish each were exposed to four behavioural challenges (foraging, olfactory, aversive and mirror tests). The expression of choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) was then analysed by Western blotting in CNS homogenates (from a subset of the same fish) as a marker for cholinergic system activity. In both foraging and olfactory tests, fish acclimated to 28 degrees C exhibited significantly higher arousal responses than fish acclimated to lower temperatures. All specimens showed fright behaviour in the aversive test, but the latency of the escape response was significantly less in the fish at 28 degrees C. Finally, the highest mirror responsiveness was exhibited by the fish acclimated to 22 degrees C. As in the case of cholinergic neurotransmission, significantly higher ChAT levels were detected in the telencephalon, diencephalon, cerebellum and spinal cord of fish acclimated to 22 or 28 degrees C in comparison with those maintained at 18 degrees C. Lower ChAT levels were detected in the mesencephalon (optic tectum) at 22 and 28 degrees C than at 18 degrees C. These data indicate that neuronal functions are affected by water temperature. Increases or decreases in ChAT expression can be related to the functional modulation of brain and spinal cord centres involved in behavioural responses to temperature change. Overall, the results of this study suggest that the environmental temperature level influences behaviour and CNS neurochemistry in the European sea bass.

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Manciocco, Arianna
Toni, Mattia
Tedesco, Amanda
Malavasi, Stefano
Alleva, Enrico
Cioni, Carla
Blackwell, Berlin , Germania
Ethology 121 (2015): 68–83. doi:10.1111/eth.12315
info:cnr-pdr/source/autori:Manciocco, Arianna; Toni, Mattia; Tedesco, Amanda; Malavasi, Stefano; Alleva, Enrico; Cioni, Carla/titolo:The Acclimation of European Sea Bass (Dicentrarchus labrax) to Temperature: Behavioural and Neurochemical Responses/doi:10
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