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Some Aspects of Environmental (Phenotypic) Adaptations in Fishes

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

This paper deals with phenotypic modifications within individual fishes, by which the fish acclimates to an alteration of an external factor. More often than not the animal has to respond to changes of various external factors and it realizes this by changing a variety of internal processes. The phenotypic adaptations can be classed according to behavioural criteria, physiological criteria (such as survival time and rate functions) and organizational level. Several examples are given of adaptations at the organismal level (lethal and preferred temperatures, thermal metabolic compensation, swimming performance, hypoxia tolerance, thermal acclimation of intake and processing of food), the organ and tissue levels (thermal acclimation in the nervous system, hypoxia adaptation of oxygen transfer to the tissues) and the molecular level (reorganization of the metabolic machinery during adaptation to hypoxia or changed temperatures). It is stressed that the physiological adaptations in individuals are primarily of ecological significance, which means that in the field of phenotypic environmental adaptation physiological and ecological insight should be matched.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Physiology, Zoological Laboratory, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


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