Thiamine deficiency effects on the vision and foraging ability of lake trout fry

Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
By: , and 



The exact causes of the historical recruitment failures of Great Lakes lake trout Salvelinus namaycush are unknown. Thiamine deficiency has been associated with neurological abnormalities in lake trout that lead to early mortality syndrome (EMS) in salmonine swim-up fry, and EMS-related mortality at the swim-up stage is a factor that contributes to the reproductive failure of lake trout populations in the Great Lakes. The potential for adverse effects of thiamine deficiency beyond the swim-up stage is unknown. We investigated the effects of low egg thiamine on behavioral functions in young, post-swim-up lake trout fry. The behavioral endpoints included visual acuity and prey capture rates in the same groups of lake trout fry from each family. Low-thiamine eggs were produced by feeding lake trout broodstock diets entailing thiaminase activity. The thiamine content of the spawned eggs ranged from 0.3 to 26.1 nmol/g. Both visual acuity and prey capture rates were affected by the thiamine content of the eggs. The visual acuity of lake trout was severely affected by low egg thiamine, mainly at thiamine concentrations below the threshold of 0.8 nmol/g but also at higher concentrations in field-collected eggs. Feeding was also reduced with low egg thiamine content. The reduction of prey capture rates was dramatic below 0.8 nmol/g and less dramatic, but still significant, in a portion of the families with egg thiamine concentrations of less than 5.0 nmol/g from both laboratory and field samples. Approximately one-third of the latter families had reduced feeding rates. Deficits in visual acuity may be part of the mechanism leading to decreased feeding rates in these fry. The effects of low egg thiamine on both of the behavioral endpoints studied increase the risk of low recruitment rates in Great Lakes lake trout populations.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Thiamine deficiency effects on the vision and foraging ability of lake trout fry
Series title Journal of Aquatic Animal Health
DOI 10.1577/H08-025.1
Volume 21
Issue 4
Year Published 2008
Language English
Publisher American Fisheries Society
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center, Contaminant Biology Program
Description 11 p.
First page 315
Last page 325
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