Egg buoyancy of flounder, Platichthys flesus , in the Baltic Sea—adaptation to salinity and implications for egg survival.

Nissling, Anders, Nyberg, Sofia and Petereit, Christoph (2017) Egg buoyancy of flounder, Platichthys flesus , in the Baltic Sea—adaptation to salinity and implications for egg survival. Open Access Fisheries Research, 191 . pp. 179-189. DOI 10.1016/j.fishres.2017.02.020.

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Supplementary data:


• Egg specific gravity vary between areas/subpopulations as an adaptation to salinity.
• Egg diameter differ between areas/subpopulations whereas egg dry weight does not.
• Habitat suitability for egg survival vary depending on salinity and oxygen conditions.
• Egg survival probabilities increased following a major saline water inflow event.

Vertical distribution of eggs as determined by the egg buoyancy, i.e. the difference in specific gravity between the egg and the ambient water, have profound implications for the reproductive success and hence recruitment in fish. Here variability in egg specific gravity of flounder, Platichthys flesus, was studied along a salinity gradient and by comparing two reproductive strategies, spawning pelagic or demersal eggs. Egg characteristics of 209 egg batches (covering ICES subdivisions (SD) 22–29 in the brackish water Baltic Sea) was used to reveal the significance of egg diameter and egg dry weight for egg specific gravity (ESG), subpopulations, and egg survival probabilities of pelagic eggs following a major saline water inflow event. As an adaptation to salinity, ESG (at 7 °C) differed (p < 0.001) between areas; three subpopulations of flounder with pelagic eggs: 1.0152 ± 0.0021 (mean ± sd) g cm−3 in SD 22, 1.0116 ± 0.0013 g cm−3 in SD 24 and 25, and 1.0096 ± 0.0007 g cm−3 in SD 26 and 28, contrasting to flounder with demersal eggs, 1.0161 ± 0.0008 g cm−3. Egg diameter differed (p < 0.001) between subpopulations; from 1.08 ± 0.06 mm (SD 22) to 1.26 ± 0.06 mm (SD 26 and 28) for pelagic eggs and 1.02 ± 0.04 mm for demersal eggs, whereas egg dry weight was similar; 37.9 ± 5.0 μg (SD 22) and 37.2 ± 3.9 μg (SD 28) for pelagic, and 36.5 ± 6.5 μg for demersal eggs. Both egg diameter and egg dry weight were identified as explanatory variables, explaining 87% of the variation in ESG. ESG changed during ontogeny; a slight decrease initially but an increase prior to hatching. Egg survival probabilities judged by combining ESG and hydrographic data suggested higher egg survival in SD 25 (26 vs 100%) and SD 26 (32 vs 99%) but not in SD 28 (0 and 3%) after the inflow event, i.e. highly fluctuating habitat suitability. The results confirm the significance of ESG for egg survival and show that variability in ESG as and adaptation to salinity is determined mainly by water content manifested as differences in egg diameter; increase in diameter with decreasing salinity for pelagic eggs, and decreased diameter resulting in demersal eggs.

Document Type: Article
Keywords: Egg specific gravity; Flounder ecotype; Brackish water; Pelagic eggs; Demersal eggs; Egg survival
Research affiliation: OceanRep > GEOMAR > FB3 Marine Ecology > FB3-EV Marine Evolutionary Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
Publisher: Elsevier
Date Deposited: 24 Apr 2017 11:13
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2020 09:13

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