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Karl Filipsson, PhD-student at Karlstad University.

Karl Filipsson has recently joined the NRRV-research group. Here he writes about his previous work and what he intends to do as a PhD-student at Karlstad University:

My name is Karl Filipsson and I recently started my PhD in the River Ecology and Management Research Group (NRRV) at Karlstad University, where I am going to study the winter ecology of stream fishes in relation to climate change. I have a master’s degree in biology from the University of Gothenburg, with focus on aquatic and evolutionary ecology. Although I have a broad interest in fish ecology and behavior, I have developed a special interest for fish inhabiting streams. In my master project I studied the effect of parasitic freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) larvae on brown trout (Salmo trutta). The project mainly examined behavioral responses in the host fish, but growth and cardiorespiratory parameters were measured as well.

In my PhD I will use an experimental approach to look at the consequences of warmer winters on predator-prey interactions and early life-history performance in stream fishes. I will use brown trout and burbot (Lota lota) as model species. River ecosystems and associated fish populations have a significant role in providing important ecosystem services. Therefore, it is of great importance to acquire knowledge on the winter ecology of stream fishes under climate change. Hopefully, results from this project will not only elucidate how stream fishes are adapted to winter conditions and respond to environmental change, but will also provide information for stakeholders and decision makers on how to manage fish populations and stream ecosystems in a future influenced by global climate change.

In addition to research, I have a great interest in scientific outreach. I have previously been working at the science center Universeum in Gothenburg and as scuba diving guide, and I am very keen on taking on the challenge to communicate research to the broader public and to be teaching in higher education.”

Some of Karls previous work on the interaction between juvenile brown trout and frehswater pearl mussel larvae is published in the scientific articles Encystment of parasitic freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) larvae coincides with increased metabolic rate and haematocrit in juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Heavy loads of parasitic freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera L.) larvae impair foraging, activity and dominance performance in juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta L.).

 

fiskkauKarlstad Universitet skriver om NRRV:s forskning om temperaturens betydelse under embryoutveckling hos vandrande fiskarters livscykel. I artiklen, med titeln Nordiskt samarbete ger forskningspengar skriver de:

”Temperaturens betydelse under embryoutveckling hos vandrande fiskarters livscykel ska undersökas av forskare från Norge, Danmark och Sverige. Från Karlstads universitet är Larry Greenberg, professor i biologi på NRRV, Naturresurs rinnande vatten, ansvarig för studierna kring olika aspekter av fiskens beteende.

Det är den ökade temperaturen orsakad av global uppvärmning, särskilt under vinterhalvåret, som i våra nordiska vatten kan ha stor påverkan på fiskens livscykel. Detta kan vara särskilt viktigt för fiskar som lägger övervintrande ägg, som laxartade fiskar gör.

– En tidigare studie har visat att med samma mängd mat växer fisken som ung snabbare om deras ägg hade utsatts för en höjning på vattnet med 5 grader jämfört med de normala vinterförhållandena, säger Larry Greenberg. Detta kan leda till att fisken vandrar ut i en yngre ålder, vilket kommer att testas inom detta projekt.

Det här kan också ändra fiskens personlighet och det forskarna bland annat ska studera är om fiskarna blir blygare och mindre aggressiva vid en temperaturhöjning av vattnet under äggstadiet. Dessutom kommer forskarna att undersöka om en miljöförändring, som höjda temperaturer på vintern leder till så kallade epigenetiska förändringar, det vill säga förändringar i hur mycket eller hur lite olika gener uttrycks.

Det Norska forskningsrådet ger drygt sex miljoner kronor till det nordiska samarbetsprojektet som börjar 2017 och avslutas 2020.”

Läs mer om Larry Greenberg’s forskning om vintertemperaturens effekt på fiskars utveckling, fysiologi och beteende i blogg-artikeln: Early environmental effects on behavior and growth: Atlantic salmon in an altered climate.

Larry Greenberg, professor within the River Ecology and Management research group at Karlstad University, is currently studying how increased winter temperatures may affect Atlantic salmon development and subsequent behavior and physiology. Here he describes his research, and shares two videos (one in autumn temperature and one in summer temperature) used to measure (count) ventilation rates on Atantic salmon parr:

”Embryonic temperature conditions are expected to affect an organism’s behavior, as behavior is linked to traits such as metabolic rate and growth. Examining the effects of embryonic temperature is particularly relevant in today’s society as unprecedented rates of climate change are predicted to occur during this century, with a larger temperature increase expected in winter than in summer. Hence, climate change will most likely have large effects on ectotherms (cold-blooded animals) that overwinter their eggs, as is the case for salmonid fishes. The aim of this project is to study the effects of water temperature during the egg stage on the behavior, growth and metabolic rate of juvenile Atlantic salmon.

When it concerns metabolic rates, I hypothesized that elevated temperature during the egg stage will result in reduced standard metabolic rates for juvenile brown trout. Instead of measuring metabolic rates, I have measured breathing rates (ventilation rate), which has been shown to be correlated with metabolic rates. This was done in darkness when breathing rates are lowest, using an infrared-sensitive camera. The two film clips below show two different fish, both of which were raised at cold ambient water temperatures as eggs. One fish was filmed in 7 oC water and the other at 18 oC water.”

YouTube Preview Image YouTube Preview Image

 

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A juvenile brown trout in the experimental flume.

Johan Watz, postdoc at Karlstad University, recently published the scientific article ”Stress responses of juvenile brown trout under winter conditions in a laboratory stream” in the journal Hydrobiologia. In the abstract he writes: ”Winter can be a challenging period for fish in northern temperate rivers and streams, particularly in those that are channelized, structurally simple or regulated by, for instance, hydropower. In these systems, dynamic sub-surface ice formation commonly occurs and stable periods with ice cover may be short. Under these adverse conditions, access to shelters has been shown to be an important factor that influences overwinter survival, and exclusion from shelters by anchor ice may cause stress. Here, stress responses of juvenile brown trout under simulated winter conditions in an artificial stream were studied. Trout were subjected to three treatments in which the trout (1) were excluded from an instream wood shelter, simulating the effects of anchor ice, (2) had access to the shelter or (3) had surface ice cover in addition to the shelter. There was a positive correlation between ventilation frequency and plasma cortisol concentration. Trout without access to shelter had 30% higher ventilation frequency than trout with instream shelter and surface ice, but no differences in cortisol concentration or stress colour were found between the treatments. River regulation that reduces surface ice and increases anchor ice formation may lead to increased stress and consequently reduce overwinter survival rates.”. 

Access the paper here: Stress responses of juvenile brown trout under winter conditions in a laboratory stream.

Johan Watz, postdoc vid Karlstads Universitet, forskar om öringens vinterekologi. Just nu pågår fältarbete i Rottnan, Värmland. Johan berättar: ”Vinterförhållanden i rinnande vatten kan påverka hur mycket fisk som kan leva i älven och hur många smolt som produceras. I ett projekt tillsammans med Fortum och Bergvik Skog undersöker vi hur öringungar klarar vintern i sidofåror till Rottnan. Platser som har berikats med struktur, i form av träd som fällts i vattnet, jämförs med platser utan trädberikning. Ettåriga PIT-märkta öringar spåras genom isen, och med stationära loggerstationer. Öringarnas förflyttningar, överlevnad och tillväxt studeras. Projektet kommer fortgå fram till islossningen.”

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Johan Watz, mitt i Rottnan. ”Fältarbete i -20C kan vara så här roligt.”

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Lisse de Groot, Erasmuspraktikant från Nederländerna, vid en damm av bottenis.

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En loggerstation (vid den svarta plastpåsen) detekterar fiskar som simmar förbi.

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Teemu Collin och Niclas Carlsson (studenter vid Karlstads Universitet) pejlar öring.

Verkar detta intressant? Just nu söker Karlstads Universitet en doktorand i just fiskars vinterekologi: PhD position in Global climate change and winter ecology

Imorgon, onsdagen den 7:e december, kommer Johan Watz, forskare vid Karlstads Universitet, att berätta om öringens vinterbeteende i rinnande vatten. Evenemanget är en del av universitetets ”Möt en forskare”-serie och ges kl. 12:00 – 12:45 i Studieverkstaden på plan 3 i universitetets bibliotek. Alla är välkomna!

motenforskare

The paper ”Winter sheltering by juvenile brown trout (Salmo trutta) – effects of stream wood and an instream ectothermic predator” by Åsa Enefalk, Johan Watz, Larry Greenberg and Eva Bergman was recently published in the journal Freshwater Biology. The paper presents a study on the sheltering behavior of the juvenile trout in presence and absence of burbot and bundles of stream food. In the abstract the authors write:

  1. In boreal streams, juvenile salmonids spend substantial amounts of time sheltering in the streambed and in stream wood, presumably as a means of protection against the physical environment and from terrestrial endothermic predators. Relatively little is known about sheltering by salmonids in response to instream ectothermic predators.
  2. We tested the effects of burbot (Lota lota) on the winter sheltering behaviour of PIT-tagged 0+ brown trout (Salmo trutta) in daylight and darkness. Sheltering in the streambed by trout was studied in the presence and absence of fine wood bundles.
  3. We found that the use of streambed and fine wood was lower in darkness than in daylight. Availability of fine wood significantly decreased sheltering in the streambed, and this effect was more pronounced in daylight than in darkness. The presence of a burbot significantly decreased sheltering in the streambed, had no effect on use of fine wood and resulted in a higher number of exposed trout.
  4. Our results indicate that juvenile brown trout decrease streambed sheltering in response to a burrowing, ectothermic predator.

Read the paper here. If you don’t have access to the journal’s content, email any of the authors.

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Johan Watz contributed the cover photo.

The paperIce cover affects the growth of a stream-dwelling fish”  by Johan Watz, Eva Bergman, John Piccolo and Larry Greenberg was published as the cover article in the May issue of the scientific journal Oecologia. The journal presents its issue and the paper:

”Winter conditions are believed to play an important role in the population dynamics of northern temperate stream fi sh, challenging the ability of fi sh to physiologically and behaviourally adapt. In this issue, Watz et al. show that brown trout (Salmo trutta) that spent the winter under ice cover grew more and used a broader range of habitats than trout in uncovered stream sections. These results indicate that the presence of surface ice may function as overhead cover against terrestrial piscivores and improve the energetic status of stream fish during winter.”

Read the abstract and access the paper here. If you don’t have access to the journal’s content, email any of the authors.

Ice and brown trout

Posted by Daniel Nyqvist | Vinterekologi
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The stream aquaria with ice cover.

The Lab and Stream, a project that ”strives to bridge the gap between anglers and academics”, has written about NRRV:s lab research on winter ecoology of brown trout:

”I think that one of the reasons that people are fascinated with fish is that they are hard to observe. Fish live in a world that is difficult to visit and largely mysterious to us air breathers, even though that world might be only a few feet underneath your boat or dock. While the underwater world might seem like an alternate dimension, the under ice world is even more distant from people’s understanding. Anyone that has stood on a frozen lake has wondered what is going on underneath them, but under ice behavior is notoriously hard to study because it’s cold and dark down there.

A cool new study by researchers from Sweden and Norway has shed some light on what trout are doing under the ice. They built stream channels in the lab that had a window on one side (to observe the fish) and added ice cover to the top of the channels to simulate a frozen river environment. In each channel they added 4 brown trout and observed their feeding and swimming behaviour…”

Read the full article at labandstream.wordpress.com.

Johan Watz led the experiment described and focoused his PhD on the winter ecololgy of salmonids. Read his thesis here. Links to the papers included are available in this blog post.

Karlstad Universitet skriver om Johan Watz‘s forskning om öringens vinterekologi:

En öring. Foto från kau.se

”Ett tak över huvudet i form av ett istäcke påverkar öringars beteende. De blir mer aktiva och mindre stressade visar forskning vid Karlstads universitet. Klimatförändringarna som leder till mildare vintrar medför dock ändrade livsvillkor för fisken och kan på sikt bli ett problem för deras överlevnad.

Eftersom fiskar är växelvarma, antar deras kroppar en temperatur som ligger nära vattnets. Därför blir fiskar mycket långsamma i nollgradigt vatten. Detsamma gäller inte för däggdjur och fåglar, som är varmblodiga.

 – Många rovdjur som lever i närheten av bäcken, som till exempel mink, har därför ofta mer fisk i sin diet på vintern än på sommaren. Långsamma fiskar i kallt vatten är lätta byten, säger Johan Watz, som forskar om öringens beteendeekologi. Men öringar har utvecklat ett motdrag – de ändrar sitt aktivitetsmönster på vintern…”

Läs hela artikeln på kau.se.