Environmental Conditioning of Skeletal Anomalies Typology and Frequency in Gilthead Seabream (Sparus aurata L., 1758) Juveniles

TitleEnvironmental Conditioning of Skeletal Anomalies Typology and Frequency in Gilthead Seabream (Sparus aurata L., 1758) Juveniles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsPrestinicola, L, Boglione C, Makridis P, Spanò A, Rimatori V, Palamara E, Scardi M, Cataudella S
JournalPLoS ONE

In this paper, 981 reared juveniles of gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) were analysed, 721 of which were from a commercial hatchery located in Northern Italy (Venice, Italy) and 260 from the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (Crete, Greece). These individuals were from 4 different egg batches, for a total of 10 different lots. Each egg batch was split into two lots after hatching, and reared with two different methodologies: intensive and semi-intensive. All fish were subjected to processing for skeletal anomaly and meristic count analysis. The aims involved: (1) quantitatively and qualitatively analyzing whether differences in skeletal elements arise between siblings and, if so, what they are; (2) investigating if any skeletal bone tissue/ossification is specifically affected by changing environmental rearing conditions; and (3) contributing to the identification of the best practices for gilthead seabream larval rearing in order to lower the deformity rates, without selections. The results obtained in this study highlighted that: i) in all the semi-intensive lots, the bones having intramembranous ossification showed a consistently lower incidence of anomalies; ii) the same clear pattern was not observed in the skeletal elements whose ossification process requires a cartilaginous precursor. It is thus possible to ameliorate the morphological quality (by reducing the incidence of severe skeletal anomalies and the variability in meristic counts of dermal bones) of reared seabream juveniles by lowering the stocking densities (maximum 16 larvae/L) and increasing the volume of the hatchery rearing tanks (minimum 40 m3). Feeding larvae with a wide variety of live (wild) preys seems further to improve juvenile skeletal quality. Additionally, analysis of the morphological quality of juveniles reared under two different semi-intensive conditions, Mesocosm and Large Volumes, highlighted a somewhat greater capacity of Large Volumes to significantly augment the gap with siblings reared in intensive (conventional) modality. © 2013 Prestinicola et al.


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