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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 525:199-215 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11208

Laboratory calibration of optimal growth to deduce in situ feeding conditions of early juvenile sprat Sprattus sprattus from otoliths

Claudia C. Günther*, Jens-Peter Herrmann, Axel Temming

Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, University of Hamburg, Olbersweg 24, 22767 Hamburg, Germany
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: We performed an ad libitum experiment over 30 d to generate otolith growth reflecting optimal fish growth for use in estimation of in situ food availability via otoliths in post-larval sprat (Sprattus sprattus L.). Between 16 and 22°C, no difference in length or wet mass growth was detected in contrast to a significant and direct increase from 5.5 to 7.9 µm d-1 in otolith and 8.7 to 10.5 mg d-1 in dry mass growth. The different responses in length/wet mass growth and otolith growth were likely caused by the onset of lipid storage, which we assume to be triggered ontogenetically. We estimated a 10-fold increase in food demand from metamorphosed sprat (30 mm length) to juveniles (50 mm length). According to a bioenergetic approach, juveniles needed a concentration of 3 and 5 individuals l-1 assuming ad libitum feeding on Acartia sp. at 16 and 22°C, respectively. We described increment width as a function of temperature (IW = -0.0326T2 + 1.6472T - 12.506) and compared this reference with increment widths of Baltic Sea recruits at corresponding temperatures. On average, increments in 2007 were smaller than the laboratory reference, suggesting sub-optimal feeding conditions. In 2003, mean increments were larger, except for early born survivors which exhibited poorer growth. These early born sprat encountered high temperatures after metamorphosis, leading to a higher food demand. Our findings highlight the importance of food availability in near-shore nursery areas and the impact of the right seasonal timing of the juvenile stage on recruitment strength in Baltic sprat.


KEY WORDS: Otolith · Growth · Food availability · Temperature · Sprat · Baltic Sea


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Cite this article as: Günther CC, Herrmann JP, Temming A (2015) Laboratory calibration of optimal growth to deduce in situ feeding conditions of early juvenile sprat Sprattus sprattus from otoliths. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 525:199-215. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11208

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