Relationships among traits of aerobic and anaerobic swimming performance in individual European sea bass Dicentrarchus labrax

PLoS One. 2013 Sep 3;8(9):e72815. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0072815. eCollection 2013.


Teleost fishes exhibit wide and temporally stable inter-individual variation in a suite of aerobic and anaerobic locomotor traits. One mechanism that could allow such variation to persist within populations is the presence of tradeoffs between aerobic and anaerobic performance, such that individuals with a high capacity for one type of performance have a reduced capacity for the other. We investigated this possibility in European seabass Dicentrarchuslabrax, each measured for a battery of indicators of maximum locomotor performance. Aerobic traits comprised active metabolic rate, aerobic scope for activity, maximum aerobic swimming speed, and stride length, using a constant acceleration test. Anaerobic traits comprised maximum speed during an escape response, maximum sprint speed, and maximum anaerobic burst speed during constant acceleration. The data provided evidence of significant variation in performance among individuals, but there was no evidence of any trade-offs among any traits of aerobic versus anaerobic swimming performance. Furthermore, the anaerobic traits were not correlated significantly among each other, despite relying on the same muscular structures. Thus, the variation observed may reflect trade-offs with other morphological, physiological or behavioural traits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aerobiosis
  • Anaerobiosis
  • Animals
  • Bass / physiology*
  • Swimming / physiology*

Grant support

This research was supported by the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the Universite´ Montpellier 2. SM was supported by a doctoral fellowship from the Regione Autonoma della Sardegna (Italy) and the European Commission. SSK was supported by post-doctoral research grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Davies Charitable Foundation. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.