Effects of low salinity media on growth, condition, and gill ion transporter expression in juvenile Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis

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The Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis, is a euryhaline teleost which has important ecological roles in the brackish-water marshes of its native range as well as commercial value as live bait for saltwater anglers. Effects of osmoregulation on growth, survival, and body condition at 0.5, 5.0, 8.0 and 12.0‰ salinity were studied in F. grandis juveniles during a 12-week trial. Relative expression of genes encoding the ion transport proteins Na(+)/K(+)-ATPase (NKA), Na(+)/K(+)/2Cl(-) cotransporter(NKCC1), and cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) Cl(-) channel was analyzed. At 0.5‰, F. grandis showed depressed growth, body condition, and survival relative to higher salinities. NKA relative expression was elevated at 7 days post-transfer but decreased at later time points in fish held at 0.5‰ while other salinities produced no such increase. NKCC1, the isoform associated with expulsion of ions in saltwater, was downregulated from week 1 to week 3 at 0.5‰ while CFTR relative expression produced no significant results across time or salinity. Our results suggest that Gulf killifish have physiological difficulties with osmoregulation at a salinity of 0.5‰ and that this leads to reduced growth performance and survival while salinities in the 5.0-12.0‰ are adequate for normal function.

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Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology

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