Improvement of Yellow Perch Larvae Culture via Live Food Enrichment with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Nov 24, 2014, 1:00pm - 2:00pm

A Graduate Defense Seminar will be presented by John Grayson, MS in Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, on Monday, November 24 at 1:00 p.m. in 370 Kottman Hall. John will present Improvement of Yellow Perch Larvae Culture via Live Food Enrichment with Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids.

Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) is a popular gamefish in the Great Lakes region that is prized for its excellent table fare. While the demand for yellow perch is high, environmental degradation, state fishery regulations, and contamination concerns have limited how many of these fish can be harvested from the wild. The production of yellow perch in aquaculture provides a safe, sustainable, local source of fish that can help meet this demand, but several significant bottlenecks in perch production still exist. One potential impediment to success is that the live zooplankton commonly used as first feeds in intensive larvae culture do not meet the dietary polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) requirements of larval perch. Dietary deficiencies of PUFA in fish larvae have been linked with lower stress resistance, impaired skeletal development, abnormal behavior, and mortality. Therefore, the main goal of this work was to improve the nutritional quality of first feeds via live food enrichment with PUFA, and thus improve the rearing success of yellow perch during this critical period in the perch’s life history. Experiments were carried out in May/June of 2013 and 2014 that examined the relative abundance of critical PUFA and the molecular assemblage of PUFA, respectively. In both experiments, enriched groups had greater survival, swim bladder inflation, and growth than control groups. The greatest growth was associated with enrichments high in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and fatty acids in ethyl ester form. These investigations are important first steps toward understanding the nutritional requirements of larval yellow perch, and they support live food enrichment as a means to increase production success.