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We conducted laboratory experiments to examine the effects of feeding ration on the routine swimming speed of larval striped bass (Morone saxatilis) and their responsiveness to simulated-predator attacks. Striped bass were reared in low (7 prey ?? L-1), medium (354 prey ?? L-1), or high (740 prey ?? L-1) prey treatments from age 4 to 14 days posthatch. Larvae reared in the low-prey treatment had slower routine swimming speeds and shorter reactive distances and were less responsive to simulated-predator attacks. These differences were most pronounced after age 10 and appeared to be an effect of deteriorating larval condition rather than an effect of size. Simulation models were constructed for two potential fish predators, Alosa aestivalis and Pomoxis nigromaculatus, to examine how variation in growth rate, swimming speed, and responsiveness to predator attacks might influence mortality rate. Our simulations predicted that cohort mortality rate would decrease with increasing larval growth rates, even though faster routine swimming speed and growth rate increased encounter rates with predators. The influence of larval growth rate and responsiveness on mortality rate varied between the two predators, but cohorts experiencing no growth always had the greatest mortality rate.
Additional Publication Details
Effects of feeding ration on larval swimming speed and responsiveness to predator attacks: Implications for cohort survival
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences