Promoting larval survival through broodstock diet: Implications for fish stock enhancement

2010-2013 - $171,531

Lee Fuiman
Department of Marine Science
The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute

A. F. Ojanguren
Research Associate
The University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute


The overall aim of the proposed research is to assess the influence of parental diet on egg fatty acid composition and the survival skills of red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus) larvae. Current research in our laboratory has shown superior antipredator performance of 3-week-old larvae from egg batches that had higher levels of two fatty acids: Arachidonic Acid (ARA) and Docosohexaenoic Acid (DHA). In a first step we will define the effects of broodstock nutrition on egg fatty acid content by manipulating the levels of ARA and DHA in the diets of captive adults during gonadal maturation and spawning. Secondly, we will assess the relationship between egg fatty acid content and larval survival skills. Finally, we will examine the importance of these findings to natural populations by assessing the variation in fatty acid content of eggs produced by wild females. The results of this research will be immediately useful for management of broodstock in stock enhancement programs for red drum and other important species by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and other agencies. Successful stock enhancement helps maintain healthy coastal ecosystems that sustain the recreational fishing industry, a key component of the economy of Texas and other coastal states.