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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Stoneville, Mississippi » Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #318220

Research Project: Genetics, Breeding and Reproductive Physiology to Enhance Production of Catfish

Location: Warmwater Aquaculture Research Unit

Title: Salinity effects on Atlantic sturgeon growth and osmoregulation

item ALLEN, PETER - Mississippi State University
item MITHELL, Z - Mississippi State University
item DEVRIES, R - Mississippi State University
item ABOAGYE, D - Mississippi State University
item CIARAMELLA, M - Mississippi State University
item RAMEE, S - Mississippi State University

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Ichthyology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/10/2014
Publication Date: 6/10/2014
Citation: Allen, P.J., Mithell, Z., Devries, R.J., Aboagye, D., Ciaramella, M., Ramee, S.W. 2014. Salinity effects on Atlantic sturgeon growth and osmoregulation. Journal of Applied Ichthyology. 30:1229-1236.

Interpretive Summary: Osmoregulatory ability and growth of juvenile Atlantic sturgeon are not well known, and are important for aquaculture and conservation. Therefore, Atlantic sturgeon were exposed to salinity ranging from fresh water to seawater for a 4 month period. After this time period, growth rates were compared and blood samples were evaluated for salt regulatory ability. Juvenile Atlantic sturgeon regulated salts well and grew in all salinities, but the highest growth rates were in fresh water.

Technical Abstract: The Atlantic sturgeon (Acipenser oxyrinchus oxyrinchus Mitchill, 1815) is an anadromous sturgeon species, yet little is known with regard to its osmoregulatory ability and habitat use at early life stages. In order to examine whether salinity poses a physiological challenge to juvenile Atlantic sturgeon near the sizes where they may begin to move into saline habitats, growth and osmoregulatory ability were tested. Juvenile Atlantic sturgeon (mean initial weight: 440 g) were acclimated to one of three salinity conditions (0, 10, or 33 ppt) representing the range of salinities they would be expected to encounter. Growth was measured over a 6-month period, and osmoregulatory ability (i.e. blood plasma osmolality and ionic concentrations) was measured after 4 months. Mean weight and length increased in all treatments, but fish in 0 and 10 ppt grew more than fish in 33 ppt. Blood plasma osmolality was regulated at similar levels regardless of salinity. Therefore, juvenile Atlantic sturgeon have the physiological capability to move between salinity habitats, but grow faster in low salinities.