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Fluctuating asymmetry in farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) juveniles: also a maternal matter?

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Kjetil Aune


Environmental Biology of Fishes ; Volume 81. p. 87–99. 2008

Eriksen, Marit Skog; Espmark, Åsa Maria Olofsdotter; Poppe, Trygve; Braastad, Bjarne Olai; Salte, Ragnar; Salte, Ragnar; Bakken, Morten

Developmental stability reflects the degree to which phenotypic expression is unaffected by random accidents or developmental noise. Developmental stability may be measured by phenodeviance or fluctuating asymmetry (FA), and estimation of developmental stability has attracted substantial interest because it appears to represent a relatively simple method to identify sub lethal stress exposure and to assess animal welfare. As a part of a long-term study, the work presented here primarily aimed to investigate impacts on developmental instability in farmed salmon offspring ten months post hatch attributable to maternal cortisol administration prior to spawning and mild hyperthermia exerted during incubation. Main results show that maternal cortisol enhancement increased the level of FA in pectoral and pelvic fins, but did not affect the frequency of malformations in offspring. Mild hyperthermia during incubation increased weight and fork length and also increased pelvic fin FA. Malformed fish were heavier and longer than the normal ones, and pelvic fin asymmetry was positively related to condition factor. These results illustrate plausible lasting impacts on offspring development due to the maternal endocrinological state at spawning and indicate that developmental instability in farmed salmon juveniles may mirror aspects of the broodstock’s housing conditions.

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