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Fluctuating asymmetry and nutritional condition of Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) larvae
Grønkjær, P.; Sand, M.K. (2003). Fluctuating asymmetry and nutritional condition of Baltic cod (Gadus morhua) larvae. Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 143(1): 191-197. hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s00227-003-1064-1
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keyword
    Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Grønkjær, P.
  • Sand, M.K.

Abstract
    The level of fluctuating asymmetry (FA), defined as random deviations from perfect bilateral symmetry, is assumed to reflect the developmental instability (DI) of an organism. Because environmental and genetic stress may increase DI, FA has been used to assess the level of stress experienced by, for example, fish. In this study, left–right asymmetry of lapillar otoliths was related to nutritional condition as estimated from RNA/DNA ratios, in order to investigate the utility of FA to detect feeding-related stress in Baltic cod, Gadus morhua L., larvae. Cod larvae in intermediate and good nutritional condition showed similar values of FA, and these were more symmetric than for larvae in poor condition. As increased levels of FA were restricted to larvae in a condition comparable to that of larvae experiencing at least 3 days of starvation in laboratory experiments, it is suggested that FA is an insensitive indicator of short-term feeding success of larval cod. However, FA can be used to reveal severely starved larva populations and probably also populations that have been subjected to prolonged sub-optimal feeding conditions.

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