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Qualitative assessment of the diet of European eel larvae in the Sargasso Sea resolved by DNA barcoding
Riemann, L.; Alfredsson, H.; Hansen, M.M.; Als, T.D.; Nielsen, T.G.; Munk, P.; Aarestrup, K.; Maes, G.E.; Sparholt, H.; Petersen, M.I.; Bachler, M.; Castonguay, M. (2010). Qualitative assessment of the diet of European eel larvae in the Sargasso Sea resolved by DNA barcoding. Biol. Lett. 6(6): 819-822. dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2010.0411
In: Biology Letters. Royal Society Publishing: London. ISSN 1744-9561, more
Peer reviewed article

Available in Authors 
    VLIZ: Open Repository 222137 [ OMA ]

Keywords
    Diets; DNA; Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; ANW, Sargasso Sea [Marine Regions]; Marine
Author keywords
    Barcoding

Authors  Top 
  • Riemann, L.
  • Alfredsson, H.
  • Hansen, M.M.
  • Als, T.D.
  • Nielsen, T.G.
  • Munk, P.
  • Aarestrup, K.
  • Maes, G.E., more
  • Sparholt, H., more
  • Petersen, M.I.
  • Bachler, M.
  • Castonguay, M.

Abstract
    European eels (Anguilla anguilla) undertake spawning migrations of more than 5000 km from continental Europe and North Africa to frontal zones in the Sargasso Sea. Subsequently, the larval offspring are advected by large-scale eastward ocean currents towards continental waters. However, the Sargasso Sea is oligotrophic, with generally low plankton biomass, and the feeding biology of eel larvae has so far remained a mystery, hampering understanding of this peculiar life history. DNA barcoding of gut contents of 61 genetically identified A. anguilla larvae caught in the Sargasso Sea showed that even the smallest larvae feed on a striking variety of plankton organisms, and that gelatinous zooplankton is of fundamental dietary importance. Hence, the specific plankton composition seems essential for eel larval feeding and growth, suggesting a linkage between eel survival and regional plankton productivity. These novel insights into the prey of Atlantic eels may furthermore facilitate eel larval rearing in aquaculture, which ultimately may replace the unsustainable use of wild-caught glass eels.

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