The Effects of a Heated Environment on the lipid Alloca tion of Bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus)
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The Savannah River Site offers a unique opportunity to study effects of temperature extremes in an aquatic environment which has resulted from hot effluent running from nuclear reactors to local pond reservoirs. AIthough the reactors were shut down by 1988, the effects of the formerly increased water temperatures in these ponds have caused behavioral, morphological, and physiological changes in the animals that reside there. The present study explores one of these adaptations by comparing the lipid allocation of bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) from the formerly thermal environment of Pond C with bluegill from the normothermic environment of Par Pond. Bluegill were collected from Pond C and Par Pond and acclimated to 31.0 °C. Samples were then taken at two-week intervals and lipid content was measured through an invasive solvent lipid extraction method. A noninvasive method (total body electrical conductivity) using the EM-SCAN was also tested in this study to determine its usefulness and accuracy. Results indicated that Pond C bluegill do significantly increase their lipid allocation more than Par Pond bluegill. In addition, there was a significant difference found between the percent body lipids from each sample. This suggests that bluegill from Pond C may have developed a more efficient metabolism allowing them to conserve more energy as lipids at high temperatures than bluegilIs from Par Pond. This metabolic difference in turn might have effects on the life histories of these animals. In addition, the EM-SCAN validation study indicated that it would be an effective tool in evaluating lean body mass for fish at different temperatures, allowing more accurate and efficient lipid testing.