MEPS 213:285-300 (2001)  -  doi:10.3354/meps213285

Functional consequences and population differences in the developmental plasticity of muscle to temperature in Atlantic herring Clupea harengus

I. A. Johnston*, V. L. A. Vieira, G. K. Temple

Gatty Marine Laboratory, Division of Environmental & Evolutionary Biology, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife KY16 8LB, Scotland, UK

ABSTRACT: The development of the axial muscles was investigated in Atlantic herring Clupea harengus from 2 spring-spawning (Clyde and Blackwater) and 1 autumn-spawning (Manx) populations in 2 successive years. The results indicate significant developmental differences between stocks. Myofibril synthesis and the development of acetylcholinesterase activity at the neuromuscular junctions occurred later with respect to embryonic stage at 5°C than at 8 and 12°C in Clyde herring, with much less pronounced differences between temperatures for the other populations. In a second series of experiments, Clyde herring were incubated at 5 and 12°C until shortly after hatching, and then reared at ambient temperature in triplicate tanks. The 5°C group had a faster growth rate than the 12°C group with respect to effective day-degrees from hatch. However, flexion of the notochord and the development of the dorsal and anal fin ray muscles occurred at shorter body lengths in the 12 than 5°C groups. The maximum escape velocity of larvae during fast-starts was determined using a high-speed video. Over the size range 11.2 to 18.5 mm total length, the adjusted mean maximum velocity was 24% higher in larvae hatched from 12 than 5°C eggs. Cruising swimming behaviour also differed between groups with the 12°C larvae showing reduced yaw relative to the 5°C larvae, indicating a more developmentally advanced sub-carangiform style of locomotion.

KEY WORDS: Atlantic herring · Clupea harengus · Skeletal muscle · Temperature · Development · Growth · Swimming performance · Fast-starts

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