Larval fish growth and survival depends not only on prey quantity, but also on prey quality. To investigate effects of prey fatty acid concentration on larval herring growth, we collected different prey organisms and larval herring (Clupea harengus L.) in the Kiel Canal during the spring season of 2009. Along with biotic background data, we analysed fatty acids both in prey organisms and in the larvae and used biochemically derived growth rates of the larvae as the response variable. Larval herring reached their highest RNA/DNA derived growth rates only at high docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) concentration. When the ratio of copepodids to lesser quality cirriped nauplii was low, larval growth and larval DHA concentration were both significantly negatively affected. This was true even as prey abundance was increasing. This finding indicates that even in mixed, natural feeding conditions, growth variations are associated with DHA availability in larval fish.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science