You Are What You (and Your Mother) Eat: Connecting Adult Prey Field to Recruitment through Nutritional Ecology

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 11:10 AM
200A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Kestrel Perez , University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas, TX
Lee Fuiman , University of Texas Marine Science Institute, Port Aransas, TX
Fish larvae require certain fatty acids for normal physiological function and ecological performance. Prior research on red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) has shown strong correlations between levels of two fatty acids (DHA and ARA) in eggs and swimming and escape performance of larvae, with evidence that deficiencies in eggs might produce irreversible effects. We tested the hypothesis of irreversible effects of egg fatty acid composition by generating eggs with different levels of DHA and ARA then splitting spawns and rearing larvae on Artemia fortified with two or three levels of DHA and ARA for 21 days before measuring routine swimming and escape performance. Larval survival, growth, routine swimming speed, and escape speed were significantly correlated with levels of DHA and ARA in larval tissues (P < 0.01). Tissue ARA levels were dependent upon ARA content of Artemia (R2 = 0.72), but tissue levels of DHA were determined jointly by DHA levels in Artemia and eggs (R2 = 0.63). Since DHA contained in red drum eggs originates from the recent maternal diet, these results demonstrate the potential importance of the adult prey field at the spawning location to larval survival and suggest a new research avenue for improved understanding of recruitment variability.