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Open AccessArticle

Swimming Abilities of Temperate Pelagic Fish Larvae Prove that They May Control Their Dispersion in Coastal Areas

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CCMAR—Centre of Marine Sciences, University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
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IPMA—Portuguese Institute for the Sea and Atmosphere/EPPO—Aquaculture Research Station, Av. 5 de Outubro, 8700-305 Olhão, Portugal
3
University of Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, 8005-139 Faro, Portugal
4
TropWATER and College of Marine & Environmental Sciences, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(10), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11100185
Received: 29 May 2019 / Revised: 26 September 2019 / Accepted: 28 September 2019 / Published: 1 October 2019
The Sense Acuity and Behavioral (SAAB) Hypothesis proposes that the swimming capabilities and sensorial acuity of temperate fish larvae allows them to find and swim towards coastal nursery areas, which are crucial for their recruitment. To gather further evidence to support this theory, it is necessary to understand how horizontal swimming capability varies along fish larvae ontogeny. Therefore, we studied the swimming capability of white seabream Diplodus sargus (Linnaeus, 1758) larvae along ontogeny, and their relationship with physiological condition. Thus, critical swimming speed (Ucrit) and the distance swam (km) during endurance tests were determined for fish larvae from 15 to 55 days post-hatching (DPH), and their physiological condition (RNA, DNA and protein contents) was assessed. The critical swimming speed of white seabream larvae increased along ontogeny from 1.1 cm s−1 (15 DPH) to 23 cm s−1 (50 and 55 DPH), and the distance swam by larvae in the endurance experiments increased from 0.01 km (15 DPH) to 86.5 km (45 DPH). This finding supports one of the premises of the SAAB hypothesis, which proposes that fish larvae can influence their transport and distribution in coastal areas due to their swimming capabilities. The relationship between larvae’s physiological condition and swimming capabilities were not evident in this study. Overall, this study provides critical information for understanding the link between population dynamics and connectivity with the management and conservation of fish stocks. View Full-Text
Keywords: fish larvae; recruitment; dispersion; swimming capacity; Ucrit; endurance fish larvae; recruitment; dispersion; swimming capacity; Ucrit; endurance
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Baptista, V.; Morais, P.; Cruz, J.; Castanho, S.; Ribeiro, L.; Pousão-Ferreira, P.; Leitão, F.; Wolanski, E.; Teodósio, M.A. Swimming Abilities of Temperate Pelagic Fish Larvae Prove that They May Control Their Dispersion in Coastal Areas. Diversity 2019, 11, 185.

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