Lipids as a proxy for larval starvation and feeding condition in small pelagic fish: a field approach on match-mismatch effects on Baltic sprat

Peters, J., Diekmann, Rabea, Clemmesen, Catriona and Hagen, W. (2015) Lipids as a proxy for larval starvation and feeding condition in small pelagic fish: a field approach on match-mismatch effects on Baltic sprat Marine Ecology Progress Series, 531 . pp. 277-292. DOI 10.3354/meps11292.

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Sprat Sprattus sprattus larvae were used as model organisms to evaluate whether larval lipids reflect in situ feeding conditions and can thus identify match-mismatch situations. In detail, we determined larval lipid content, growth rates based on RNA:DNA ratios, and fatty acid (FA) composition during the spawning season in the Central Baltic Sea, and evaluated these in light of feeding, mortality and recruitment (which were determined in parallel within the project ‘GLOBEC Germany’). Based on the opposing trend of RNA:DNA and lipid content, as well as on previous observations, we hypothesized that lipid content and current feeding conditions are largely uncoupled in the early life stages of sprat due to reduced lipid anabolism. However, lipids still provide information in several ways: (1) segmented generalised linear models proved to be a suitable tool for identifying phases of lipid catabolism during development, with the slope reflecting size-specific environmental starvation pressure. This method detected a previously identified mismatch situation with suitable prey in the early spawning season, which increased mortality of larger larvae. (2) Estimated starvation resistance, a proxy that accounts for temperature- and size-dependent metabolism, reflected the likelihood of near future starvation of individual larvae. (3) Principal component analyses on FAs identified monthly differences in diet composition. Biomarkers indicated a dinoflagellate and/or microbial loop based carbon flux to the larvae. (4) Regression analyses revealed lower docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels in spring, but no obvious effect on growth. Food quality was generally high, and its impact on larval survival was less evident than that of prey size suitability.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: WOS:000358445000020
Keywords: Early life history; Condition; Recruitment; Lipids; Growth; Food quality; Essential fatty acids; Trophic markers; ALKOR
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Evolutionary Ecology of Marine Fishes
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.3354/meps11292
ISSN: 0171-8630
Related URLs:
Projects: GLOBEC, Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2015 11:50
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2017 12:45

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