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Fish density, but not environmental enrichment, affects the size of cerebellum in the brain of juvenile hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon

Näslund, Joacim, Rosengren, Malin, Johnsson, Jörgen I.
Environmental biology of fishes 2019 v.102 no.5 pp. 705-712
Salmo salar, cerebellum, cognition, environmental enrichment, experimental design, fish, hatcheries, juveniles, locomotion, rearing
This paper describes a study on the environmentally dependent brain size plasticity in hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon Salmo salar L. Using a factorial experimental design, we tested whether tank fish density, local hatchery standard (150 fish ∙ m⁻²) vs. reduced (50 fish ∙ m⁻²) and structural enrichment, a bundle of submerged plastic stripes, had effects on the size of the cerebellar region of the brain. Fish reared at reduced density had smaller cerebella, while structural enrichment had no detectable effects. The density effect on cerebellum, which is involved in locomotion and cognition, confirms previous results from hatchery-reared Atlantic salmon. The lack of detectable positive effects of enrichment, which contrasts some previous studies, provide further evidence for a complex relationship between environmental complexity and brain growth.