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Comparison of growth, feeding and cortisol level in Platichthys bicoloratus juveniles between estuarine and nearshore nursery grounds

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Growth rates estimated using the RNA : DNA ratio of field-collected stone flounder Platichthys bicoloratus juveniles were significantly higher in fish from brackish estuarine sites than from exposed nearshore sites. Gut fullness of juveniles indicated that prey availability was higher in estuaries than in nearshore areas. The whole-body cortisol concentration of juveniles, however, was approximately four times higher in fish from the estuarine than the nearshore sites. This elevated cortisol level was possibly attributable to the much higher fluctuations in temperature and salinity over a diel cycle than in nearshore habitats where both environmental factors were comparatively stable. High growth rates, feeding conditions and densities of stone flounder juveniles in estuarine nursery grounds indicated that the elevated cortisol level was within a physiologically tolerable range and did not impair fish performance.
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Keywords: Platichthys bicoloratus; cortisol; growth; habitat; juvenile; stone flounder

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Tohoku National Fisheries Research Institute, Shinhama, Shiogama, Miyagi 985-0001, Japan and 2: Department of Biological Resources, Fukui Prefectural University, Obama, Fukui 917-0003, Japan

Publication date: 2003-09-01

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