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Title: Maternal effects and fecundity of plaice (Pleuronectes platessa) in the Irish Sea
Author: Kennedy, James
ISNI:       0000 0000 5917 1868
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2006
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The fecundity of Irish Sea plaice caught from Liverpool Bay, the Cumbrian coast and in the western Irish Sea was estimated in 200 1, 2003 and 2004 and was compared with data previously collected for the years 1953, 1995 and 2000. The fecundity was also estimated for plaice caught during September 2004 and 2005. Temporal variation in fecundity was greatest in the western Irish Sea, followed by the Cumbrian coast and there were no significant differences between years in Liverpool Bay. Fecundity estimates from September did not differ between years or between areas but was higher than fecundities estimated during the spawning season. The maximum fecundity of an individual fish was determined by the weight of the fish at the end of follicle proliferation. This was then down regulated by atresia during the period between the cessation of follicle proliferation and spawning. The differences in fecundity between years and areas are hypothesised to be due to differences in the degree of down regulation. To examine if the degree of down regulation was affected by the feeding level during late vitellogenesis, plaice were housed in individual pens and fed on either a high or low ration of food in late autumn. Biopsy samples were taken at the beginning, middle and end of the experiment and follicle size was determined using image analysis, the percentage of atretic follicles was noted and the change in ovary weight was monitored. Follicle growth rate increased with food level and the level of atresia was negatively correlated with change in condition factor. As food level decreased there was an increased dependence on stored reserves for metabolism and follicle growth. The Total Egg Production (TEP) for plaice for the whole Irish Sea was back calculated using available fecundity estimates and the Virtual Population Analysis (VPA) data from 1964 to 2004 and compared with indices of recruitment at age 1. TEP was positively related to SSB. Recruitment at age 1 was not related to TEP or SSB. Mortality between the egg stage and recruitment was positively related to TEP which is believed to be due to density dependent processes occurring during the nursery ground phase. The estimates of TEP were approximately one third of the direct estimates of stage 1 egg production from plankton surveys in the eastern Irish Sea. This is hypothesised to be due to inaccuracies in the VPA data. The effects of maternal size on various egg and larval characteristics were examined using plaice caught from coastal waters around the Isle of Man (Great Britain) and Bergen (Norway). Egg batches were incubated at 7°C with larvae from one batch being monitored at the individual level. Egg size increased with maternal size, with larger eggs producing larger larvae with a greater yolk sac volume. Eggs . from earlier batches had greater incubation times than eggs from later times. A longer incubation time led to bigger larvae but with a smaller yolk sac volume. Growth during the two weeks after hatching was related to size at hatching and yolk sac volume, with smaller larvae with larger yolk sacs having the greatest growth. Larger larvae had no survival advantage under the present experimental conditions, which had a plentiful supply of food and no predators.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available