Growth hormone increases growth and dominance of wild juvenile Atlantic salmon without affecting space use

  • Martin-Smith K
  • Armstrong J
  • Johnsson J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Growth hormone (GH) was applied to Atlantic salmon Salmo salar parr (the pre-migratory freshwater life stage) to manipulate growth potential experimentally and to elucidate the effects on dominance status, actual growth, exploratory activity and home range. Experiments were conducted using seven groups of eight parr from May to September of two successive years. The fish were tagged with passive integrated transponders (PIT tags), tested for dominance, and then held in an enclosed section of a natural stream which was fitted with an array of PIT tag detectors to record space use at a definition of c. 2 m. Relationships between dominance rank, space use and growth were established over 2 weeks. The four lowest ranking fish in each group were then given a slow-release GH implant while the other fish received a placebo. The GH stimulated increase in fork length (L-F) and mass and decrease in condition factor due to the relatively greater increase in L-F. There was, however, an interaction between GH-stimulated increase in growth and season, with the hormone having an effect only during the early part of the summer. Regardless of treatment, fish that moved most around their home range grew fastest. Increased growth in GH-treated fish was associated with an increase in growth per unit movement, not increased total movement. This suggested that GH-treated fish increased their rate of short-distance (

Author-supplied keywords

  • Salmo salar
  • Social status
  • Territory

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Authors

  • K. M. Martin-Smith

  • J. D. Armstrong

  • J. I. Johnsson

  • B. Th Björnsson

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