Maxed Out: Optimizing Accuracy, Precision, and Power for Field Measures of Maximum Metabolic Rate in Fishes
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Both laboratory and field respirometry are rapidly growing techniques to determine animal performance thresholds. However, replicating protocols to estimate maximum metabolic rate (MMR) between species, populations, and individuals can be difficult, especially in the field. We therefore evaluated seven different exercise treatments-four laboratory methods involving a swim tunnel (critical swim speed [Ucrit], Ucrit postswim fatigue, maximum swim speed [Umax], and Umax postswim fatigue) and three field-based chasing methods (3-min chase with 1-min air exposure, 3-min chase with no air exposure, and chase to exhaustion)-in adult coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) as a case study to determine best general practices for measuring and quantifying MMR in fish. We found that all seven methods were highly comparable and that chase treatments represent a valuable field alternative to swim tunnels. Moreover, we caution that the type of test and duration of measurement windows used to calculate MMR can have significant effects on estimates of MMR and statistical power for each approach.