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Subject: larval otoliths
From: Hugues Pascal Benoit <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Academic forum on fisheries ecology and related topics <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 7 May 1997 16:23:33 -0230

TEXT/PLAIN (46 lines)

Hello all,

I'm about to commence a study on the effects of growth on the timing
(age/size) of early life history transitions (hatching/metamorphosis) in
marine fishes. My"lab rat" is Yellowtail flounder, which will be reared
from eggs to past metamorphosis, at different temperatures (2-12 degrees

In a perfect world, during the course of this study, I would like to stain
the otoliths of the larvae repeatedly at set intervals.  This way, at the
end of the study, I can approximate the size of larvae at previous time
intervals. The only problem is that yellowtail flounder are relatively
slow growers, and I predict that growth will range from 0.05 mm/day to 0.2
mm/d.  Litterature reports indicate that in cases of such slow growth, a
large period of time (weeks to months) is required between subsequent
stainings to maintain separate clear bands.

My questions to the list are:

1.  What stains do you recommend using, which minimize mortality, show
clear patterns, and which create narrow bands on otoliths (to reduce the
amount of time between subsequent stainings)?  Literature results are
inconclusive for the more popular stains.  Also, is immersion the best way
of staining larval otolith?  Might incorporating the stain in the food for
the larvae create narrower bands?

2.  In your experience, is it feasible to repeatedly stain such slow
growers?  If yes, how often can this be done given that yellowtail hatch
at about 2 mm and metamorphose at 14mm (growth rates of 0.05-0.2 mm/d)?

I appreciate any advice that you could provide.  Unpublished personal
experience is often of great value, and in this case will help to set my
experimental protocol.  Please respond to me directly at the adress below.
I will compile the responses for the list at a later date.


Hugues Benoit

Ocean Sciences Center
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St-John's, Newfoundland, Canada

e-mail:  [log in to unmask]

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