Research: Acute effects of a 24-hour saltwater challenge on juvenile shortnose sturgeon (Acipenser brevirostrum): An integrative approach.
My project focuses on the stress of short-term saltwater exposure in juvenile shortnose sturgeon. We know adult shortnose sturgeon routinely enter saline water to forage, yet little is known about how (or if) juveniles cope with the stresses associated with saltwater. In other fish species, 24-hour challenges are often used to assess osmoregulatory ability. I plan to expose juvenile shortnose sturgeon to a series of such challenges at both full and half-strength seawater in three laboratory experiments.
(1) Firstly, oxygen consumption rates will be used to estimate the metabolic costs.
(2) Blood samples taken throughout a challenge will be analyzed for the stress hormone cortisol, as well as various measures of osmoregulatory status and energy use.
(3) Finally, standard-swimming tests will be used following a 24-hour exposure to determine whether salinity effects performance ability. These experiments are designed to explore the effects of salinity by integrating the primary (cortisol), secondary (blood parameters, oxygen consumption) and tertiary (swimming performance) stress responses typically seen in fish.