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The risk of running on empty: the influence of age on starvation and gut fullness in larval Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)
Jordaan, A.; Brown, J.A. (2003). The risk of running on empty: the influence of age on starvation and gut fullness in larval Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua). Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 60(10): 1289-1298
In: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences = Journal canadien des sciences halieutiques et aquatiques. National Research Council Canada: Ottawa. ISSN 0706-652X, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Keywords
    Age; Metamorphosis; Mortality; Predation; Starvation; Swimming; Gadus morhua Linnaeus, 1758 [WoRMS]; Marine

Authors  Top 
  • Jordaan, A.
  • Brown, J.A.

Abstract
    Two experiments were set up to evaluate whether the response of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) larvae to no-prey conditions changes with age. The first experiment was designed to test for age-specific starvation with starvation trials at 0, 5, 15, 30, and 45 days after hatching. Mortality, length, and swimming activity data were collected. A second experiment was conducted to determine the effect of non-feeding conditions on the residency of prey in the gut at 5, 15, 30, and 45 days after hatching. The results of experiment 1 indicated that mortality occurred most rapidly at 15 and 30 days and was delayed during the yolk-sac period (day 0). Larvae in non-fed treatments showed significantly lower activity levels, except in the 45-day treatment, and the reduction in activity occurred before the onset of mortality. In experiment 2, gut residencies displayed an age-dependent response, with 5- and 45-day-old larvae having significantly shorter residency times. We conclude that beyond the yolk-sac period, cod larvae exhibit an age-dependent trade-off between growth and starvation risk. Larval age also influences patterns of gut fullness over time, with the fastest rates of gut clearance found at first-feeding and metamorphosis.

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