IMPRESS – Improved production strategies for endangered freshwater species

Critical swimming speed of sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus): Does intraspecific hybridization affect swimming performance?

We studied the effect of intraspecific hybridization on swimming performance in sterlet, hypothesizing that such hybridization increases the performance by inducing the hybrid vigor. A total of 12 purebred and hybrid crosses were reproduced from Danube (D) and Volga (V) populations of Acipenser ruthenus. Within each cross, one group of fish was exposed to temperature challenges mimicking the temperature variation in the natural environment during summer.

The critical swimming speed showed positive relationship with total body length. Comparing intraspecific hybrid crosses with purebred crosses, no significant difference in swimming performance was observed. It is thus concluded that swimming performance is a family specific trait. There is no indication that intraspecific hybridization affects swimming performance nor that close‐to‐natural temperature regimes increase swimming performance.

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