MEPS prepress abstract  -  DOI:

Resistance to starvation in settling spiny lobsters in warming coastal waters

Luvia Lorei Garcia Echauri*, Geoffrey Liggins, Andrew Jeffs


ABSTRACT: Spiny lobsters have an extended larval development in offshore waters that ends with the non-feeding post-larvae swimming across the continental shelf and settling in shallow coastal waters. We tested the hypothesis that recent declines in the recruitment of a number of spiny lobster populations in different parts of the world are the result of increasing coastal water temperatures that deplete the metabolic reserves of recently settled post-larvae. We examined the resilience of recently-settled juvenile lobsters to the depletion of their reserves in two species of spiny lobster from temperate waters. Juveniles of Jasus edwardsii survive on average for 34.44 ± 3.44 SE days without feeding at 19–21 °C, while Sagmariasus verreauxi survive for 39.96 ± 1.40 SE days, with no differences in survival among three temperature regimes, i.e., 17, 20 and 23°C. The point of no return for recently-settled juveniles of S. verreauxi was estimated to be 30.40 ± 13.50 SE days which was close to their average survival under starvation conditions. Starved juvenile lobsters close to the point of no return with extremely low remaining protein and lipid (6.52% lipid and 27.18% protein of dry body mass) were capable of surviving once food was supplied. These results indicate newly-settled juveniles of spiny lobsters from temperate waters can endure adverse nutritional conditions over a wide range of thermal conditions for prolonged periods, making them resilient to future increases in water temperatures as a result of climate change.