Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

Combined effects of temperature increase and immune challenge in two wild gudgeon populations

In the context of global changes, aquatic ecosystems are increasingly exposed to multiple stressors that can have unexpected interactive effects on aquatic organisms. Among these stressors, the occurrence of heat waves and pathogens is changing rapidly in freshwater rivers, but their combined effects on fish health are still understudied. In this study, we experimentally tested the crossed effects of increased temperature (mimicking a heat wave) and a standardized immune challenge (mimicking a parasite attack) on wild gudgeon (Gobio occitaniae) physiology and behaviour across biological levels from molecules to the whole individual. We also investigated the potential variation of sensitivity among populations by comparing two wild populations from contrasted thermal regimes. Combined stressors (i.e. temperature increase and immune challenge) had contrasted effects on fish physiology and behaviour compared to single stressors, but only at the individual level. In particular, the immune challenge inhibited the effect of the temperature on fish behaviour (activity, exploration and foraging) but amplified the negative effect of temperature on fish survival. No interactions were found at other biological levels. This study thus shows that it is essential to consider biotic stressors such as pathogens to better anticipate the effects of global changes on aquatic organisms. In addition, there was a high variability of response between the two gudgeon populations, suggesting that future studies should take into account population variability to better predict the responses of aquatic wildlife to current and future stressors.

Glossaire technique

Organisme qui vit aux dépens d'un autre organisme et qui est souvent...
Le stress n'est pas une maladie en lui-même mais une réaction du poisson à...