Non-native strains of Atlantic salmon are used in reinstatement trials where populations are extinct. Environmental cues like photoperiod and temperature are known to influence the smolting process and there is evidence of strain-, stock- or population-specific differences associated with seaward migration or smoltification. The objective of this study was to compare morphological, osmoregulatory and endorcrine features between two strains, one originating from a cold and short river in Ireland (Cong) and another from a long and warm river in France (Loire-Allier), reared under Belgian conditions in order to highlight major differences in restocking adaptability. Comprehensive endocrine profiles, consistent with their interactive role of mediating changes associated with smolting, have been observed. Na+/K+ATPase activity (1.3–10.5 µmol ADP∗mg prot.−1∗h−1) and hormone plasma levels (e.g. 55–122 ng∗mL−1 of cortisol and 4.5–6.4 ng∗mL−1 of GH) were consistent with reported values. We observed strain-related differences of the influence of temperature and daylength on cortisol, GH and sodium plasma levels. These may be related to the respective environmental conditions prevailing in the river of origin, which have impacted the genetic background for smoltification. Using Na+/K+ATPase activity as an indicator, both strains smoltified successfully and simultaneously testifying a prevailing influence of environmental cues over genetic factors for smoltification.
- Atlantic salmon
- Hormone profile