Calibrating and comparing somatic-, nucleic acid-, and otolith-based indicators of growth and condition in young juvenile European sprat (Sprattus sprattus)

Peck, Myron A., Baumann, Hannes, Clemmesen, Catriona, Herrmann, Jens-Peter, Moyano, Marta and Temming, Axel (2015) Calibrating and comparing somatic-, nucleic acid-, and otolith-based indicators of growth and condition in young juvenile European sprat (Sprattus sprattus) Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 471 . pp. 217-225. DOI 10.1016/j.jembe.2015.06.011.

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Supplementary data:


• Juvenile fish somatic-, biochemical- and otolith-based condition indices are compared.
• RNA/DNA, otolith increments, and somatic condition explained > 70% growth variability.
• Response times of proxies differ after food deprivation and re-feeding.
• RNA/DNA most rapid response, otolith increments explain length but not mass growth.
• Caution suggested if condition indices are applied to fish in patchy prey environments.

Reliable estimates of short- and longer-term in situ growth and condition of organisms are critical if one hopes to understand how the environment regulates survival. This study reports the first comparison of somatic- (K), biochemical- (RNA–DNA ratio, RD) and otolith- (increment widths, OIW) based indices of condition of a young juvenile fish. Measurements were made on European sprat (Sprattus sprattus) that had i) known differences in somatic growth rate caused by providing different, constant prey ration levels, ii) been fed ad libitum at 7, 11, 15, 18 and 22 °C, and iii) been deprived of prey for either 4, 8 or 12 days and re-fed for 8 days. All three proxies explained significant amounts (70 to 90%) of the variability in measured growth rate. In fish experiencing a change in their feeding level and concomitant change in mass-at-length (K), RD tracked changes in both length and mass while OIW only tracked changes in length. Values of OIW and RD were highest at 18 °C suggesting that this is the optimal temperature for growth in these juveniles. During food deprivation, RD and OIW rapidly decreased and reached their lowest values within ~ 4 days. Upon re-feeding, RD increased most rapidly, K was most variable and the response time in OIW was slowest (two-times slower than RD). These patterns reflected preferential allocation of food energy to restore body mass in recently re-fed fish prior to fish increasing both mass and length. These results indicate that the sensitivity and applicability of growth proxies depend on the recent feeding history, that proxies have different response times, and that caution be taken when inferring growth and condition in early life stages of fishes that forage in patchy prey environments.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000359167700026
Keywords: Growth; Condition factor; RNA–DNA; Otolith microstructure; Clupeid; ALKOR
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.jembe.2015.06.011
ISSN: 0022-0981
Projects: GLOBEC
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2015 10:33
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2017 12:19

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