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Passage through a hydropower plant affects the physiological and health status of Atlanstic salmon smolts
Ben Ammar, I.; Baeklandt, S.; Cornet, V.; Antipine, S.; Sonny, D.; Mandiki, S.N.M.; Kestemont, P. (2020). Passage through a hydropower plant affects the physiological and health status of Atlanstic salmon smolts. Comp. Biochem. Physiol., Part A Mol. Integr. Physiol. 247: 110745.
In: Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part A. Molecular and Integrative Physiology. Elsevier: New York. ISSN 1095-6433; e-ISSN 1531-4332, more
Peer reviewed article  

Available in  Authors 

    Salmo salar Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Hydropower plant; Atlantic salmon smolts; Downstream migration; Physiological and health status

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    Atlantic salmon is an anadromous species migrating from upper-reach nursery areas in rivers to the oceanic feeding areas at smolt stage and inversely at adult stage requiring unimpeded migration routes. However, dams associated with hydroelectric power plants (HPP) disrupt river connectivity and affect fish movement and survival. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the short and mid-term physiological and immune response of Atlantic salmon smolts after passing through Andenne HPP (Meuse River, Belgium). Several parameters were studied after an in situ deliberate passage including direct mortality and external damages, stress and immune biomarkers as plasma cortisol and glucose levels, complement and peroxidase activities, and immune and oxidative stress related gene expression 24 h, 72 h and 120 h after passage. Survival rate was lower and external damages were more important in fish that confronted the HPP compared to the control ones. Moreover, the passage through the turbine affected plasma glucose levels, complement and peroxidase activities and the expression of some immune genes such as lysg, igm and mpo in a timely manner suggesting that this passage can lead to a great energy expenditure and a disruption of innate immunity. Our observations can partially explain the delayed mortality observed in many studies leading to a poor success of restocking programs. HPPs not only have a direct impact in terms of mortalities and injuries but also an indirect one in terms of physiological and immune changes that can compromise Atlantic salmon smolts ability to escape successfully to the ocean.

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