Migratory fishes commonly encounter large and rapid thermal variation, which has the potential to disrupt essential physiological functions. Thus, we acclimated wild, migratory Arctic char to 13°C (∼7°C above a summer average) for an ecologically relevant period (3 days) and measured maximum heart rate (ƒH,max) during acute warming to determine their ability to rapidly improve cardiac function at high temperatures. Arctic char exhibited rapid compensatory cardiac plasticity similar to past observations following prolonged warm acclimation: they reduced ƒH,max over intermediate temperatures (−8%), improved their ability to increase ƒH,max during warming (+10%), and increased (+1.3°C) the temperature at the onset of an arrhythmic heartbeat, a sign of cardiac failure. This rapid cardiac plasticity may help migrating fishes such as Arctic char mitigate short-term thermal challenges. Furthermore, by using mobile Arctic research infrastructure in a remote field location, the present study illustrates the potential for field-based, experimental physiology in such locations.

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