Repeatability of standard metabolic rate, active metabolic rate and aerobic scope in young brown trout during a period of moderate food availability.
ABSTRACT Standard metabolic rate (SMR) and active metabolic rate (AMR) are two fundamental physiological parameters providing the floor and ceiling in aerobic energy metabolism. The total amount of energy available within these two parameters confines constitutes the absolute aerobic scope (AAS). Previous studies on fish have found SMR to closely correlate with dominance and position in the social hierarchy, and to be highly repeatable over time when fish were provided an ad libitum diet. In this study we tested the temporal repeatability of individual SMR, AMR and AAS, as well as repeatability of body mass, in young brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) fed a moderately restricted diet (0.5-0.7% fish mass day⁻¹). Metabolism was estimated from measurements of oxygen consumption rate (M(.)(O₂)) and repeatability was evaluated four times across a 15-week period. Individual body mass was highly repeatable across the entire 15 week experimental period whereas residual body-mass-corrected SMR, AMR and AAS showed a gradual loss of repeatability over time. Individual residual SMR, AMR and AAS were significantly repeatable in the short term (5 weeks), gradually declined across the medium term (10 weeks) and completely disappeared in the long term (15 weeks). We suggest that this gradual decline in repeatability was due to the slightly restricted feeding regime. This is discussed in the context of phenotypic plasticity, natural selection and ecology.