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Energetic costs of activity in wild lake trout: a calibration study using acceleration transmitters and positional telemetry

Cruz-Font, Liset, Shuter, Brian J., Blanchfield, Paul J.
Canadian journal of fisheries and aquatic sciences 2016 v.73 no.8 pp. 1237-1250
Salvelinus namaycush, ambient temperature, energy metabolism, fish, fish communities, lakes, models, oxygen consumption, swimming, telemetry
Acceleration telemetry transmitters offer the opportunity to estimate the cost of behaviours in free-ranging fishes, but a methodology to translate acceleration data into metabolic equivalents is still needed. This study extends previous calibration studies, explores how well tail-beat frequency transmitters fulfill their role, and presents a procedure to convert acceleration data into metabolic cost within a framework consistent with traditional fish bioenergetics models and thus facilitates comparisons of energetic costs between natural fish populations. These objectives were achieved by comparing data from lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in a laboratory setting with data from three natural populations. In the laboratory, tail-beat frequency, acceleration values, and oxygen consumption increased progressively with swimming speed. In the wild, individual swimming speeds estimated from positional telemetry were consistently underestimated by, but positively related to, transmitter-based acceleration values. The proposed rationale to estimate metabolic rate from acceleration data accounts for variation in fish mass and environmental temperature. We demonstrated how this novel method permits comparison of metabolic costs associated with the levels of activity typical of lake trout living in two different lakes.