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Amoebic gill disease increases energy requirements and decreases hypoxia tolerance in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) smolts

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 11:20 authored by Bowden, AJ, Mark AdamsMark Adams, Andrewartha, SJ, Elliott, NG, Peter FrappellPeter Frappell, Clark, TD

Globally, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar Linnaeus) aquaculture is now routinely affected by amoebic gill disease (AGD; Neoparamoeba perurans). The disease proliferates throughout the summer and is implicated in decreasing tolerance of salmon to environmental perturbations, yet little empirical evidence exists to support these observations. Using salmon acclimated to 15 or 19 °C, our aim was to determine the effects of clinically light-moderate (industry-relevant) AGD on metabolism (O2rest and O2max), aerobic scope (O2maxO2rest), excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), and hypoxia tolerance. An increase in O2rest (~8% and ~ 13% increase within the 15 and 19 °C acclimation groups, respectively) with increasing disease signs demonstrated an increase in baseline energy requirements as the disease progressed. Conversely, O2max remained stable at both temperatures (~364 mg O2 kg−1 h−1), resulting in a decline in aerobic scope by 13 and 19% in the 15 and 19 °C groups, respectively. There was evidence of a decrease in hypoxia tolerance as the dissolved oxygen concentrations at loss of equilibrium increased by ~8% with more severe lesion coverage of the gills. These results suggest an increase in basal energy requirements and reduction in hypoxia tolerance as AGD proliferates, lending support to the idea that AGD reduces environmental tolerance. However, the lack of an effect of acclimation temperature indicates that the temperature-disease interaction may be more complicated than currently thought.


Publication title

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A



Article number









Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies


Elsevier Science Inc

Place of publication

360 Park Ave South, New York, USA, Ny, 10010-1710

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© 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc.

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna)

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