Sublethal effects of salinity and temperature on non-native blue catfish: Implications for establishment in Atlantic slope drainages


The distribution and further range expansion of non-native blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus in coastal waters throughout the United States Atlantic slope depend, in part, on the salinity tolerance of the fish. However, temperature-mediated sublethal effects of increased salinities on blue catfish biology are not yet known. We assessed the effects of salinity and temperature on growth, body condition, body composition and food consumption of juvenile blue catfish in a controlled laboratory experiment. Temperature and salinity had an interactive effect on blue catfish biology, although most fish survived 112 days in salinities up to 10 psu. At salinities 9 psu) likely will not support the full lifecycle of blue catfish, but the fish may use salinities up to 10 psu for foraging, dispersal and even growth. Many oligohaline and mesohaline habitats in U.S. Atlantic slope drainages may thus be vulnerable to establishment of invasive blue catfish, particularly given the increasing temperatures as a result of climate warmin

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