Date of Award

8-2007

Level of Access

Campus-Only Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Marine Biology

Advisor

Linda J. Kling

Second Committee Member

Denise Skonberg

Third Committee Member

Nicholas Brown

Abstract

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhud) larvae were early weaned onto various feeding regimes to pinpoint the best nutrition protocol to rear these organisms in an aquaculture setting. Experimental microdiets were evaluated based on larval growth, survival, gut development, consumption rate and digestibility. Our zein microbound diet performed well in all categories in comparison to live feed controls and commercial diets. We were able to reduce the amount of Artemia fed to larvae by 65% by co-feeding with our zein microbound diet. Including marine phospholipids in our experimental microdiets significantly improved growth and survival of early weaned cod larvae (P<0.05). The addition of feed hydrolysates as gustatory stimulants at a 5% replacement level of diet ingredients did not significantly improve growth and survival (P>0.05). Ingestion of microdiets was improved by a 5% addition of squid hydrolysate to microdiets for cod larvae. Continuing research into diet formulation will further enhance our understanding of marine larval finfish nutrition and reduce our dependence on live feeds. We were able to develop a method to evaluate apparent digestibility of protein in vivo for larval fish. This novel technique incorporated fluorescent beads into experimental microdiets. These beads were also found suitable for studies on ingestion rate and feed consumption. Measuring digestibility, determining the chemical composition of microdiets, and performing rearing trials to evaluate growth and survival of marine larval fish effectively addresses many questions regarding marine larval fish nutrition. A greater understanding of larval stages is critical to mass rearing of marine fishes.

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