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Fishes 2018, 3(4), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/fishes3040049

Trade-Offs Underwater: Physiological Plasticity of Rainbow Trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) Confronted by Multiple Stressors

1
Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Bern, CH-3012 Bern, Switzerland
2
Fisheries Research Station Baden-Württemberg, LAZBW, 88085 Langenargen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 16 December 2018
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Abstract

Organisms have evolved mechanisms to partition the available resources between fitness-relevant physiological functions. Organisms possess phenotypic plasticity to acclimate to changing environmental conditions. However, this comes at a cost that can cause negative correlations or “trade-offs”, whereby increasing investments in one function lead to decreased investments in another function. The aim of the present study was to investigate the prioritization of resource allocation between growth, pathogen defense, and contaminant response in juvenile rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) exposed to changes of resource income or expenditure. We performed a multifactorial experiment with three resource-impacting stressors—limited food availability, a parasitic infection, exposure to a vitellogenesis-inducing contaminant—and combinations thereof. Treatment with the individual stressors evoked the expected responses in the respective physiological target systems—body growth, immune system, and hepatic vitellogenin transcription—but we found little evidence for significant negative relations (trade-offs) between the three systems. This also applied to fish exposed to combinations of the stressors. This high phenotypic flexibility of trout in their resource allocation suggests that linear resource allocations as mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity may be too simplistic, but it also may point to a greater capacity of ectothermic than endothermic vertebrates to maintain key physiological processes under competing resource needs due to lower maintenance costs. View Full-Text
Keywords: rainbow trout; resource allocation; food availability; growth; vitellogenesis; immunity; endocrine disruptor; trade-offs rainbow trout; resource allocation; food availability; growth; vitellogenesis; immunity; endocrine disruptor; trade-offs
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Wernicke von Siebenthal, E.; Rehberger, K.; Bailey, C.; Ros, A.; Herzog, E.L.; Segner, H. Trade-Offs Underwater: Physiological Plasticity of Rainbow Trout (Onchorhynchus mykiss) Confronted by Multiple Stressors. Fishes 2018, 3, 49.

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