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Effects of egg size, parental origin and feeding conditions on growth of larval and juvenile cod Gadus morhua

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An experimental study was performed to disentangle parental and environmental effects on the growth of Atlantic cod Gadus morhua larvae and juveniles. Eggs were collected during the spawning season from spawning pairs (families) kept separately in specially designed spawning compartments. Newly hatched larvae were released simultaneously into two mesocosms of 2500 and 4400 m3. Larval growth was monitored by sampling over a 10 week period, after which juveniles were transferred to on-growing tanks, where they were tagged and kept for up to 2 years. Maternal origin was determined by individual microsatellite genotyping of the larvae (n = 3949, 24 families) and juveniles (n = 600). The results showed significant positive correlations between egg size and larval size during the whole mesocosm period. Correlations, however, weakened with time and were no longer significant at the first tank-rearing sampling at an age of 9 months. Significant family-specific differences in growth were observed. The coefficient of variation (c.v.) was calculated in order to examine variation in standard length of larvae during the mesocosm period. Inter-familyc.v.was on average 69% of intra-familyc.v.Differences in zooplankton densities between the two mesocosms were reflected in larval growth, condition factor andc.v.Low food abundance appeared to reducec.v.and favour growth of larvae that showed relatively slow growth at high food abundance. It is suggested that genetically determined variation in growth potential is maintained by environmental variability.
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Keywords: environmental effects; genotyping; growth variability; maternal; mesocosm

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Marine Research, P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes, NO-5817 Bergen, Norway, 2: Leibniz Institute for Marine Sciences at Kiel University (IFM-GEOMAR), Düsternbrooker Weg 20, D-24105 Kiel, Germany, 3: University of Hull, Molecular Ecology & Fisheries Genetics Group, Department of Biological Sciences, Cottingham Road, HU6 7RX Hull, U.K. and 4: Institute of Marine Research, Flødevigen Research Station, NO-4817 His, Norway

Publication date: 2009-08-01

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