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image of Journal of Crustacean Biology

ABSTRACT Growth assays were done with first stage zoeae of Paralithodes camtschatica (Tilesius), which are grazers, to determine what types of phytoplankton communities could support larval growth. First stage zoeae were initially reared in water collected from depths with the highest chlorophyll concentration in Auke Bay, Alaska. In those 1987 experiments the highest growth rate was 8% dry body weight per day (b.w.d-1) and occurred when Thalassiosira spp. dominated the phytoplankton community. Later in the bloom, when Skeletonema costatum was the dominant diatom, growth rates averaged 2-3% dry b.w.d '. Additional growth assays during 1988 in Auke Bay used water from depths of 5, 10, and 20 m as the growth medium. In all 1988 experiments, Thalassiosira spp. dominated the phytoplankton community. The other two common diatom genera, Chaetoceros spp. and Skeletonema, were not abundant enough during the 1988 growth assays to be primary energy sources. Average growth rates varied from 1.4―10% dry b.w.d-1. Zoeae reared in water from all 3 depths during the spring diatom bloom grew. In 1987 and 1988 the best growth rates were observed during the peak of the spring bloom of Thalassiosira spp. Zoeal growth correlated well with abundance of Thalassiosira spp. in the growth assays. When concentrations of Thalassiosira spp. were less than 1,000 cells·ml-1, the equation relating growth to abundance of this genus was: growth (% dry b.w.d-1) = 0.013 (Thalassiosira spp. cells·ml-1) ― 1.07; r2 = 0.94. When Thalassiosira spp. were between 1,000 and 4,000 cells·ml-1 mean growth rates were similar to each other at 9―10% dry b.w.d-1. We suggest that diatom species composition and relative abundance are important factors modifying feeding success and growth of stage I larval king crab.


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