Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 8561
Title: DMSP increases survival of larval sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria)
Author: J. S.F. Lee, Rachel S. Poretsky, M. A. Cook, Jose J. Reyes-Tomassini, B. A. Berejikian, Frederick W. Goetz
Publication Year: 2016
Journal: Journal of Chemical Ecology
Volume: 42
Issue: 6
Pages: 533-536
DOI: 10.1007/s10886-016-0713-z
Keywords: Dimethylsulfoniopropionate,feeding stimulant,larvae,Fish,phytoplankton,recruitment

High concentrations of dimethylsulfoniopropionate (DMSP), a chemical compound released by lysed phytoplankton, may indicate high rates of grazing by zooplankton and may thus be an important foraging cue for planktivorous fishes. Previous studies have shown that some planktivorous fishes and birds aggregate or alter locomotory behavior in response to this chemical cue, which is likely adaptive because it helps them locate prey. These behavioral responses have been demonstrated in juveniles and adults, but no studies have tested for effects on larval fish. Larvae suffer from high mortality rates and are vulnerable to starvation. While larvae are generally thought to be visual predators, they actually have poor vision and cryptic prey. Thus, larval fish should benefit from a chemical cue that provides information on prey abundance. We reared larval sablefish (Anoplopoma fimbria) for one week and supplemented feedings with varying concentrations of DMSP to test the hypothesis that DMSP affects larval survival. Ecologically relevant DMSP concentrations increased larval survival by up to 70%, which has implications for production in aquaculture and recruitment in nature. These results provide a new tool for increasing larval production in aquaculture and also suggest that larvae may use DMSP as an olfactory cue. The release of DMSP may be a previously unappreciated mechanism through which phytoplankton may affect larval survival and recruitment.

Theme: Sustainable, safe and secure seafood for healthy populations and vibrant communities
Foci: Develop research and technology to foster innovative and sustainable approaches to aquaculture.