Temperature Acclimation: Improved Sustained Swimming Performance in Carp at Low Temperatures

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  12 Apr 1985:
Vol. 228, Issue 4696, pp. 194-196
DOI: 10.1126/science.228.4696.194


At low temperatures, the reduction in mechanical power output of the aerobic muscle forces cold-blooded animals, such as carp, to recruit their rapidly fatiguing anaerobic fibers at relatively slow swimming speeds. Previous experimental data have suggested that changes in the biochemistry and morphology of the aerobic muscle during cold acclimation might increase its output of mechanical power. The present experiments show that, because of these changes, carp can swim faster at low temperature using only their aerobic muscle, which results in an increase in their sustainable swimming speed. By modifying their musculature, cold-blooded animals can achieve some independence from the effects of seasonal changes in environmental temperature.

Stay Connected to Science