Marine and Freshwater Research Marine and Freshwater Research Society
Advances in the aquatic sciences
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Short-term decoupling of otolith and somatic growth induced by food level changes in postlarval Baltic sprat, Sprattus sprattus

Hannes Baumann A B , Myron A. Peck A and Jens-Peter Herrmann A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Institute of Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, Olbersweg 24, 22767 Hamburg, Germany.

B Corresponding author. Email: hannes.baumann@uni-hamburg.de

Marine and Freshwater Research 56(5) 539-547 https://doi.org/10.1071/MF04140
Submitted: 12 July 2004  Accepted: 6 April 2005   Published: 21 July 2005

Abstract

We studied the effects of food level changes on otolith and somatic growth in postlarval Baltic sprat reared initially for a period of 11 days under zero, low, and ad libitum feeding conditions. During a subsequent 11 day period, feeding regimes were reversed in half of the low and ad libitum feeding treatments, and starved fish were re-fed ad libitum rations. Somatic growth rates under low and ad libitum food rations ranged between 0.15–0.22 mm day-1 and 0.48–0.63 mm day-1, respectively, and led to significant differences in length and weight between feeding regimes. Previously starved fish, however, grew only 0.25–0.28 mm day-1 under ad libitum conditions. During the first period, significant linear relationships were found for otolith v. length and v. weight growth across all treatments. After changing feeding regimes, increment widths failed to significantly predict somatic growth for 9 days, after which a significant relationship between otolith and somatic growth became re-established. Recent otolith growth was a good predictor of fish condition after the first, but not after the second period. The results suggest that perturbations in environmental conditions can temporarily decouple otolith from somatic growth in postlarval sprat, which needs to be considered in field studies.

Extra keywords: alizarin, feeding experiment, postlarval sprat.


Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Arne Malzahn, Daniel Stepputtis, Christoph Petereit, and Bastian Huwer, who were of great help during the field sampling. Sven Staecker, Joachim Luetke, Linda Holste, and Kornelia Paul are thanked for their most reliable support during the conduction of the experiment. Both anonymous referees provided constructive criticism that helped to improve the manuscript. The present study was funded by the GLOBEC-Germany programme (FKZ 03F0320E).


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