[Pre-print] The effect of substrate rearing on the growth, aerobic scope, and physiology of larval white sturgeon (Acipenser transmontanus)
Boucher, Marcus A.
Baker, Daniel W.
Brauner, Colin J.
Shrimpton, J. Mark
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The effect of substrate on growth and metabolic rate was assessed in larval white sturgeon (Aciperser transmontanus). Yolk sac larvae (YSL) were reared in bare tanks or tanks with gravel as substrate from hatch until approximately 16 days post hatch (dph). The effect of an artificial substrate was also evaluated for growth alone. Substrate had a significant effect on weight, with larvae reared in gravel and artificial substrate being larger than those reared without substrate. Respirometry measurements of resting (routine) metabolic rates in fish reared without gravel were significantly greater than those reared with gravel during the yolk sac phase. Aerobic scope (the difference between maximum and routine metabolic rate) was significantly lower for YSL and feeding larvae (FL) in bare tanks than those reared with gravel, particularly before fish started feeding exogenously. Routine factorial scope (maximum metabolic rate divided by routine metabolic rate) indicated that the ability to elevate metabolic rate above routine in the early ontogeny of white sturgeon is extremely limited (< 1.7). These findings suggest that YSL reared without substrate may divert more of their energy to non-growth related processes, such as exercise, as higher activity levels were observed but not quantified in YSL sturgeon reared without substrate. These results underscore the importance of adequate rearing substrate for growth and development, and may provide support for habitat restoration and alternative hatchery rearing methods.
Identifier (Other)DOI: 10.1111/jfb.13611