The biomechanics and evolutionary significance of thermal acclimation in the common carp Cyprinus carpio

James M. Wakeling, Nicholas J. Cole, Kirsty M. Kemp, Ian A. Johnston*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The effects of thermal acclimation were investigated in the common carp Cyprinus carpio L. Acclimation and acute temperature effects were tested during ontogeny from larval [9.5 mm total length (L)] to juvenile (69.0 mm L) stages and between 8 and 21°C. The myosin heavy chain (MHC) composition, myofibrillar Mg2+-Ca2+-ATPase activity, and muscle strains showed significant thermal acclimation effects. MHCs were only expressed in an acclimation temperature-dependent fashion in fish longer than 37 mm. During fast starts, the temperature had a significant effect on the white muscle strain (33% increase and 50% decrease with increasing acclimation and acute temperature, respectively) and contraction duration (25% decrease with increasing acute temperature). Increases in hydrodynamic efficiency (0.19 to 0.38) and hydrodynamic power requirements (Q10 = 3.2) occurred with increasing acute temperature (10 to 20 °C). Competing hypotheses about the evolutionary significance of the temperature acclimation response were tested. Acclimation extended the temperature range for fast-start behavior, but no improvements in performance at the whole animal level were found between 8 and 21°C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R657-R665
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute temperature
  • Fast start
  • Hydrodynamic efficiency
  • Kinematics
  • Muscle mechanics


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