• Nucleic Acid Ratios As An Index Of Growth And Nutritional Ecology In Pacific Cod (Gadus Macrocephalus), Walleye Pollock (Theragra Chalcogramma), And Pacific Herring (Clupea Pallasii )

      Sreenivasan, Ashwin; Smoker, William (2011)
      Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus), walleye pollock (Theragra chalcogramma), and Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii) are among the most ecologically and commercially important species in the North Pacific Ocean. In spite of their importance, little is known about larval and juvenile growth strategies in these fish. Since larval and juvenile fish growth may determine future growth, possibly affecting recruitment success, assessments of growth strategies might improve predictive growth models. Nucleic acid ratios (RNA/DNA) can have applications as a sensitive growth index in larval and juvenile Pacific cod, walleye pollock, and Pacific herring, and can potentially be used to determine growth responses and energetic assessments at the cellular level. Determining physiological growth responses in these fish after exposure to different temperatures and nutritional states can help in understanding growth strategies and condition. Nucleic acid ratios from white muscle of juvenile Pacific herring and whole-body Pacific cod and walleye pollock larvae were used as a cellular growth index to provide energetic assessments in these species. Growth responses were studied in these fish across a range of temperatures and nutritional states. Growth was compared between fed, starved/fed and terminally starved Pacific herring cultured at 6.5�C, 8.5�C, and 12.5�C. Relative to fed controls, starved/fed fish showed similar RNA/DNA ratios and soluble protein concentration, but reduced mass. Nucleic acid ratios in starved/fed fish during the starvation phase, and in terminally starved fish, indicated incipient terminal starvation. Also, a seasonal variation of RNA/DNA, protein concentrations and total body lipid concentrations was seen in fed fish, reflecting changes in resource allocation. Early growth was compared in yolk-sac Pacific cod and walleye pollock larvae cultured at 5�C and 8�C, and in yolk-sac Pacific cod larvae cultured in two nutritional states (fed and starved). Growth responses in Pacific cod and walleye pollock larvae were affected by small differences in temperature. Exposure to the lower temperature resulted in higher RNA/DNA in both Pacific cod and walleye pollock larvae. Based on nucleic acid patterns with larval development, it was possible to identify distinct growth stanzas in Pacific cod larvae.