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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 259:285-293 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/meps259285

Temperature effects on growth and nucleic acids in laboratory-reared larval coregonid fish

A. M. Malzahn1,2,*, C. Clemmesen1, H. Rosenthal1

1Institut für Meereskunde, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
2 Present address: Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, AWI, Meeresstation, 27498 Helgoland, Germany

ABSTRACT: Somatic growth and nucleic acid content were studied in North Sea houting Coregonus oxyrhinchus larvae fed exclusively on dry diets at 2 temperatures (8.4 and 17.5°C) during a 32 d rearing experiment. The higher temperature enhanced growth significantly. Mean dry weights at the end of the experiment were 3.6 mg (SD = 1.07, range 1.4 to 5.7 mg) and 31.5 mg (SD = 21.9, range 3.6 to 96.0 mg), and mean standard lengths were 17.7 ± mm (SD = 1.6, range 11.8 to 19.6 mm) and 25.5 mm (SD = 4.2, range 17.0 to 35 mm), respectively. Significant responses to temperature were also found in the nucleic acids. However, these differences were not as remarkable and gave indications that differences in protein growth between treatments was based on protein biosynthesis being driven by the activity of the ribosomes, rather than their number. The use of the degree-day approach to normalize the data clearly showed the temperature-dependence of somatic growth. Only small differences in growth and nucleic acid content were observed in the comparable range of the first 280 degree-days in fed fish. In non-fed fish, the starving potential was very similar (approx. 350 degree-days). Shifts in growth pattern from predominantly hyperplasia to predominantly hypertrophy were detected, with ongoing growth at both temperatures.

KEY WORDS: Coregonus · RNA:DNA ratio · Temperature effects · Whitefish · Larvae

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