Effects of acute thermal stress on the survival, predator avoidance, and physiology of juvenile fall chinook salmon
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We subjected juvenile fall chinook salmon from the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River to acute thermal stressors in the laboratory that were derived from field data. We assessed the effects of thermal stress on: (1) the extent of direct mortality; (2) the vulnerability of fish to predation by smallmouth bass; and (3) some general physiological stress responses and synthesis of heat shock protein 70 (hsp70). Thermally-stressed fish showed little direct mortality and no increases in vulnerability to predation. However, these fish showed transient increases in plasma concentrations of cortisol, glucose, and lactate, and a dramatic (25-fold higher than controls) and persistent (lasting 2 wk) increase in levels of liver hsp70. Our results indicate that exposure of Hanford Reach juvenile fall chinook salmon to such stressors did not lead to significant increases in direct mortality or vulnerability to predation, but did alter physiological homeostasis, which should be of concern to those managing this resource. Because our fish received only a single exposure to one of the stressors we examined, we are also concerned about the consequences of exposing fish to multiple, cumulative stressors - a likely scenario for fish in the wild.