Impacts of changing food webs in Lake Ontario: Implications of dietary fatty acids on growth of alewives

Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management
By: , and 

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Abstract

Declines in the abundance and condition of Great Lakes Alewives have been reported periodically during the last two decades, and the reasons for these declines remain unclear. To better understand how food web changes may influence Alewife growth and Wisconsin growth model predictions, we fed Alewives isocaloric diets high in omega-6 fatty acids (corn oil) or high in omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil). Alewives were fed the experimental diets at either 1% (“low ration”) or 3% (“high ration”) of their wet body weight per day. After six weeks, Alewives maintained on the high ration diets were significantly larger than those fed the low ration diets. Moreover, Alewives given the high ration fish oil diet were significantly larger than those maintained on the high ration corn oil diet after six weeks of growth. Body lipid, energy density and total body energy of Alewives on the high ration diets were significantly higher than those fed the low ration diets, and total body energy was significantly higher in Alewives given the high ration fish oil diet compared to those on the high ration corn oil diet. The current Wisconsin bioenergetics model underestimated growth and overestimated food consumption by Alewives in our study. Alewife thiaminase activity was similar among treatment groups. Overall, our results suggest that future food web changes in Lake Ontario, particularly if they involve decreases in the abundance of lipid rich prey items such as Mysis, may reduce Alewife growth rates and total body energy due to reductions in the availability of dietary omega-3 fatty acids.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Impacts of changing food webs in Lake Ontario: Implications of dietary fatty acids on growth of alewives
Series title Aquatic Ecosystem Health & Management
DOI 10.1080/14634988.2011.598102
Volume 14
Issue 3
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Description 8 p.
First page 231
Last page 238
Other Geospatial Lake Ontario
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