Marine Biology

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 197–204 | Cite as

Tail beat frequency as a predictor of swimming speed and oxygen consumption of saithe (Pollachius virens) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus) during forced swimming

  • Maria Faldborg SteinhausenEmail author
  • John Fleng Steffensen
  • Niels Gerner Andersen
Research Article


Oxygen consumption and tail beat frequency were measured on saithe (Pollachius virens) and whiting (Merlangius merlangus) during steady swimming. Oxygen consumption increased exponentially with swimming speed, and the relationship was described by a power function. The extrapolated standard metabolic rates (SMR) were similar for saithe and whiting, whereas the active metabolic rate (AMR) was twice as high for saithe. The higher AMR resulted in a higher scope for activity in accordance with the higher critical swimming speed (Ucrit) achieved by saithe. The optimum swimming speed (Uopt) was 1.4 BL s−1 for saithe and 1.0 BL s−1 for whiting with a corresponding cost of transport (COT) of 0.14 and 0.15 J N−1 m−1. Tail beat frequency correlated strongly with swimming speed as well as with oxygen consumption. In contrast to swimming speed and oxygen consumption, measurement of tail beat frequency on individual free-ranging fish is relatively uncomplicated. Tail beat frequency may therefore serve as a predictor of swimming speed and oxygen consumption of saithe and whiting in the field.


Oxygen Consumption Swimming Speed Swimming Performance Standard Metabolic Rate Specific Dynamic Action 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was financed by, a research network financed by the Danish Agricultural and Veterinary Research Council. Financial support from Danish Institute for Fisheries Research (DIFRES), EU-Project Ethofish, and the Danish Natural Science Research Council are also gratefully acknowledged. We thank Neill A. Herbert for useful comments. The experiments comply with the Danish laws on animal ethics.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Faldborg Steinhausen
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Fleng Steffensen
    • 1
  • Niels Gerner Andersen
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Biological LaboratoryUniversity of CopenhagenHelsingørDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Marine Ecology and AquacultureDanish Institute for Fisheries ResearchHirtshalsDenmark

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