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Aquatic Biology

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AB 21:11-24 (2014)  -  DOI:

Maternal influence on timing of parturition, fecundity, and larval quality in three shelf rockfishes (Sebastes spp.)

David M. Stafford1,2,*, Susan M. Sogard2, Steven A. Berkeley3

1Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Moss Landing, California 95039, USA
2Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
3University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California 95060, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Differences in maternal investment and reproductive timing can have important consequences for offspring survival. Prior studies on nearshore rockfishes have shown significant effects of maternal age and size on the timing of parturition, fecundity, and larval quality, offering advantages to population persistence by maintaining age diversity in rockfish populations. In this study, reproduction in chilipepper Sebastes goodei, widow rockfish S. entomelas, and yellowtail rockfish S. flavidus was examined to determine whether age- and size-related effects on maternal investment and reproductive timing are exhibited in deeper-dwelling species of this genus. Parturition dates were derived from fine-scale staging of pre-parturition embryos from gravid females. Measurements of embryonic energy reserves (oil globule and yolk), indicators of condition, were used to estimate depletion rates and to test for maternal age and size effects on larval quality. For widow and yellowtail rockfish, larger or older rockfish gave birth earlier in the parturition season than younger, smaller fishes. Maternal factors of weight, length, or age were positively correlated to absolute and relative (weight-specific) fecundity in all species. A trade-off was observed between egg size and fecundity among species, with chilipepper displaying larger egg size and lower fecundity relative to widow and yellowtail rockfish. Embryonic reserves were weakly but significantly related to age only in chilipepper, with embryos from larger, older mothers having larger oil globules. Since the strength of maternal effects varies among Sebastes species, information on maternal influence can assist managers in identifying species most likely to benefit from the protection of age structure afforded by marine reserves or other fisheries regulations.

KEY WORDS: Sebastes · Maternal effects · Larval quality · Timing of parturition · Fecundity

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Cite this article as: Stafford DM, Sogard SM, Berkeley SA (2014) Maternal influence on timing of parturition, fecundity, and larval quality in three shelf rockfishes (Sebastes spp.). Aquat Biol 21:11-24.

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