This article reports on the thermal tolerance, metabolic capacity and performance of juvenile meagre (Argyrosomus regius) reared under three high water temperatures (24, 29 and 34 °C) for three months. The analysis includes the thermal effects on the growth performance, metabolism and physiology of meagre, including a range of molecular, haematological, metabolic, enzymatic and hormonal indicators, as well as the effects on the proximate composition and ingestion speed. Meagre performs best between 24 and 29 °C while the temperature of 34 °C is very close to the upper end of its temperature tolerance range. At 34 °C meagre exhibits a poor growth performance and physiological status, increased blood clotting, high mortality rates and a diminished capacity for aerobic metabolism, as indicated by its low aerobic scope (129 mg kg−1 h−1). Meagre may tolerate short exposures to high temperatures after sufficient acclimation (Critical thermal maximum of 37.5 °C after acclimation to 29 °C) but its overall performance declines under prolonged exposure, suggesting that this emerging aquaculture species may be vulnerable to global warming. Our work corroborates previous findings on the thermal preferences of the species, identifies critical biological thresholds, and provides insights into the effects of prolonged exposure to high temperature regimes.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-08-23
Acknowledgements: This research was part of the Aquaculture Development Program managed by the Beacon Development Company with financial support from the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture (MEWA). Technical HCMR stuff members Nikos Mitrizakis and Panagiotis Anastasiadis are greatly acknowledged for their help in performing the trial, Maria Mastoraki for her help with the proximate composition analysis, Mrs Marlene De Wilde for her support with the English language, and Dr Athanasios Samaras for his support with the physiological measurements at the Laboratory of Fish Physiology (Dept. Biology, University of Crete).