Respiration and Activity of Arctic and Antarctic Fish with Different Modes of Life: A Multivariate Analysis of Experimental Data

  • Christopher Zimmermann
  • Gerd Hubold


Traditionally, polar fishes have been considered to be restricted in their physiological performance by low water temperatures [1]. This restriction could even limit the types of life style in polar seas [2]. However, detailed ecological investigations based on in situ and long term aquarium observations show a surprisingly wide scope of life types and behavioral patterns for polar ocean fishes [3–8]. In today’s fish fauna of both polar seas all ecotypes are present, except for scombrid-like forms [9]. Uncertainties persist about the metabolic performance potential of polar fishes. Following the expected respiration trend of temperature, ectotherm organisms should all display an extremely low metabolism at polar temperatures [10], which ought to result in limited activity and physiological performance. Early results of Scholander et al. [11] and Wohlschlag [12] found elevated respiration rates in polar fish species, which was in accordance with Krogh’s [10] suggestions, and developed the concept of a “Metabolic Cold Adaptation” (MCA). More sophisticated experimental conditions (i.e. the consideration of handling stress [1] and spontaneous activity [13]) rendered lower oxygen consumption values which led to a rejection of the MCA concept [1, 14–15]. However, oxygen consumption rates even within one species yielded contradictory results, which can be attributed to the various experimental set-ups used (see [16] for a review).


Spontaneous Activity Movement Rate Antarctic Fish Factorial Plane Lower Oxygen Consumption 
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.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Holeton GF (1974) Metabolic cold adaptation of polar fish: fact or artefact? Physiol Zool 47(3): 137–152Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Clarke A, Johnston IA (1996) Evolution and adaptive radiation of Antarctic fishes. Trends Ecol Evol 11(5): 212–220PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Moreno CA (1980) Observations on food and reproduction in Trematomus bernacchii from the Palmer Archipelago. Copeia 1: 171–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Daniels RA (1982) Feeding ecology of some fishes of the Antarctic Peninsula. Fish Bull 80(3): 575–588Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ekau W, Gutt J (1991) Notothenioid fishes from the Weddell Sea and their habitat, observed by underwater photography and television. Proc NIPR Symp Polar Biol 4: 36–49Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Janssen J, Sideleva V, Montgomery J (1991) Under-ice observations of fish behavior at McMurdo Sound. Antarct J US 26: 174–175Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Janssen J, Montgomery JC, Tien R (1992) Social rotational feeding in Pagothenia borchgrevinki (Pisces: Nototheniidae). Copeia 2: 559–562CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    North AW (1996) Locomotory activity and behaviour of the Antarctic teleost Notothenia coriiceps. Mar Biol 126(1): 125–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Zimmermann C (1997) Zur Ökologie arktischer und antarktischer Fische: Aktivität, Sinnesleistungen und Verhalten. Ber Polarforsch 231: 1–137 [in German]Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Krogh A (1914) The quantitative relation between temperature and standard metabolism in animals. Internat Zeitschr Physikal-Chem Biol 1: 491–508Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Scholander PF, Flagg W, Walters V, Irving L (1953) Climatic adaptations in arctic and tropical poikilotherms. Physiol Zool 26: 67–92Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Wohlschlag DE (1964) Respiratory metabolism and ecological characteristics of some fishes in McMurdo Sound, Antarctica. In: Lee MO (ed) Biology of the Antarctic seas 1. American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, pp 33–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Morris DJ, North AW (1984) Oxygen consumption of five species of fish from South Georgia. J Exp Mar Biol Ecol 78: 75–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Clarke A (1991) What is cold adaptation and how should we measure it? Am Zool 31(1): 81–92Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Steffensen JF, Bushnell PG, Schurmann H (1994) Oxygen consumption in four species of teleosts from Greenland: no evidence of metabolic cold adaptation. Polar Biol 14(1): 49–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Wells RMG (1987) Respiration of Antarctic fishes from McMurdo Sound. Comp Biochem Physiol 88A: 417–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Forstner H (1983) An automated multiple-chamber intermittent-flow respirometer. In: Gnaiger E, Forstner H (eds) Polarographic oxygen sensors. Springer, Berlin, pp 111–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Steffensen JF, Johansen K, Bushnell PG (1984) An automated swimming respirometer. Comp Biochem Physiol 79A: 437–440CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Steffensen JF (1989) Some errors in respirometry of aquatic breathers: how to avoid and correct for them. Fish Physiol Biochem 6(1): 49–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Spoor WA (1946) A quantitative study of the relationship between the activity and oxygen consumption of the goldfish, and its application to the measurement of respiratory metabolism in fishes. Biol Bull (Woods Hole) 91:312–325CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Fry FEJ (1947) Effects of the environment on animal activity. Univ Toronto Stud, Biol Ser 55: 1–62Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Beamish FWH, Mookherjii PS (1964) Respiration of fishes with special emphasis on standard oxygen consumption. Can J Zool 42: 161–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Flury B, Ridwyl H (1983) Angewandte multivariate Statistik. Fischer, Stuttgart [in German]Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Legendre L, Legendre P (1983) Numerical ecology. Developments in environmental modelling 3. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Fry FEJ (1971) The effect of environmental factors on the physiology of fish. In: Hoar WS, Randall DJ (eds) Fish physiology, Vol. 6. Academic Press, New York, pp 1–98Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nikolskii GW (1957) Spezielle Fischkunde. VEB Verlag der Wissenschaften, Berlin [in German]Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pethon P (1989) Aschehougs store fiskebok. Aschehaug & Co A/S, Oslo [in Norwegian]Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Gon O, Heemstra PC (eds) (1990) Fishes of the Southern Ocean. JLB Smith Institute of Ichthyology, GrahamstownGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Lønne OJ, Gulliksen B (1989) Occurrence and ecological importance of sympagic fauna in the Fram Strait, Svalbard area, and western Barents Sea. Rapp P-v Réun Cons Int Explor Mer 188: 170Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Eastman JT (1997) Comparison of the Antarctic and Arctic fish faunas. Cybium, 21(4): 335–352Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher Zimmermann
    • 1
  • Gerd Hubold
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für PolarökologieUniversität KielKielGermany
  2. 2.Institut für SeefischereiBundesforschungsanstalt für FischereiHamburgGermany

Personalised recommendations