Cardio-respiratory function during exercise in the cobia, Rachycentron canadum: The impact of crude oil exposure.


Aerobic exercise capacity is dependent on the cardiorespiratory system’s ability to supply oxygen at a rate that meets energetic demands. In teleost fish crude oil exposure, with the associated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s), reduces exercise performance and this has been hypothesized to be due to compromised cardiovascular function. In this study, we test this hypothesis by simultaneously measuring cardiovascular performance, oxygen consumption, and swim performance in a pelagic teleost, the cobia (Rachycentron canadum). Metabolic rate increased over 300% in both groups during the swim trial but as the fish approached the critical swim speed (Ucrit) MO2 was 12% lower in the oil exposed fish. Further, stroke volume was initially 35% lower while heart rate was 15% higher in the oil exposed compared to control fish. Our findings suggested, while aspects of cardiovascular and metabolic function are altered by oil exposure, additional studies are needed to further understand the homeostatic mechanisms that may sustain cardiovascular function at higher exercise intensities in cobia.

Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 201:58-65