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Unger P.,University of Rostock | Klimpel S.,Goethe University Frankfurt | Lang T.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology | Palm H.W.,University of Rostock
Acta Parasitologica | Year: 2014

Zoographical distribution of metazoan fish parasites in herring, Clupea harengus, from the Baltic Sea was analysed in order to use them as potential biological indicators. A total of 210 herring from six different sampling sites were investigated, harbouring 12 different parasite species [five digeneans (D), one cestode (C), three nematodes (N) and three acanthocephalans (A)]. The distribution of the parasite species differed according to region, with a distinct gradient of decreasing species richness towards the east of the Baltic Sea. The western localities at Kiel Bay, Rügen and Poland had the highest parasite diversity, including the marine parasite species Anisakis simplex (s.s.) (N), Brachyphallus crenatus and Hemiurus luehei (both D). The eastern localities had low parasite species richness, predominated by the freshwater digenean Diplostomum spathaceum. We could identify three different Baltic herring stocks, the spring-spawning herring of the western Baltic reaching from the Kattegat to the German and Polish coast, the stock of the central Baltic proper and the northern stock of C. harengus var. membras of the Gulf of Finland. The limited distribution of the herring parasites within the Baltic Sea enables their use as biological indicators for migration patterns and stock separation. The acanthocephalan Pomphorhynchus laevis that has already been used as an accumulation bioindicator for heavy metals was only recorded for the western herring stocks. However, the presence of mainly generalistic parasites and their uneven distribution patterns make their use as indicators for regional environmental and global change more difficult. © 2014 Versita Warsaw and Springer-Verlag Wien. Source

Prigge E.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Prigge E.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology | Marohn L.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology | Hanel R.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology
Journal of Fish Biology | Year: 2013

To investigate the extent to which European silver eels Anguilla anguilla, originating from stocking programmes in the Baltic Sea tributaries, effectively contribute to the spawning stock, two hundred and seventy-four formerly stocked A. anguilla. emigrating from the Schwentine River near Kiel, Germany, were tagged with T-Bar anchor tags. A total of 29 Anguilla spp. were recaptured (c. 11%) up to 14months after release. Stocking history of recaptured A. anguilla. was confirmed by otolith microchemistry. Recapture locations were concentrated around the outlet of the Baltic Sea (Danish Belt Sea) with 62% of all recaptures reported here or in the Kattegat. Recaptured Anguilla spp. showed a reduction in both LT and mass (mean±s.d.=-1·5±0·9cm and -125·3±50·1g) while average total fat content remained in the order of values previously reported as high enough to provide energy resources to allow successful completion of the spawning migration (mean±s.d.=28·4±4·4%). The documented mean rate of travel (0·8kmday-1), however, indicated a delay in the target-oriented migration that might be interpreted as a delayed initial migration phase of orientation towards the exit of the Baltic Sea. © 2013 The Author. Journal of Fish Biology © 2013 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles. Source

Marohn L.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology | Marohn L.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Jakob E.,University of Prince Edward Island | Hanel R.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology
Journal of Sea Research | Year: 2013

European eel (Anguilla anguilla) recruitment is declining dramatically since the 1980s. Causes for this decline are explained by a combination of environmental changes basically affecting oceanic larval stages and a variety of anthropogenic impacts during the continental phase. Today, evidence is growing that poor silver eel quality has a major impact on reproductive success, implying that habitat quality plays a key role in stock decline. Since eels are frequently moving through a variety of different habitats during their life cycle, a better understanding of the implications of individual diadromous behaviour and habitat choice on spawner quality are crucial for management considerations for a stock recovery. The present study tested whether individual migratory behaviour and habitat choice of European eels affect spawner quality. Therefore, the migratory behaviour of 287 European eels from marine, brackish and freshwater stations in the North Sea, the Baltic Sea and from Northern German inland waters was examined by otolith strontium/calcium analysis. All individuals were classified either as freshwater residents, coastal residents, downstream shifters, upstream shifters or interhabitat shifters. As indicators for eel quality, muscle fat content, infection with the introduced swimbladder nematode Anguillicoloides crassus and body length at onset of spawning migration were assessed. Results indicate that individuals that exclusively inhabited freshwaters had significantly lower muscle fat contents and were more seriously infected with A. crassus than eels that never entered freshwaters. Since high fat contents are considered as prerequisites for a successful transoceanic spawning migration and high A. crassus loads have a negative impact on condition, this study outlines the importance of brackish waters as eel habitats in temperate latitudes. Furthermore, it questions the net benefit of stocking programs for the European eel population, since they include the translocation of eels from coastal waters into freshwaters. © 2012 Elsevier B.V. Source

Marohn L.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology | Marohn L.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Prigge E.,Leibniz Institute of Marine Science | Hanel R.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology
Freshwater Biology | Year: 2014

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) stock experienced a sharp decline during the last decades and is suffering from massive anthropogenic impacts on inland waters. To evaluate the benefit of management measures and to better understand the contribution of single drainage systems to spawner production, knowledge of the respective silver eel escapement is required. Furthermore, a better understanding of environmental conditions that potentially trigger the onset of spawning migration is needed to reduce anthropogenic mortalities during riverine eel migration. Investigations are also necessary to clarify whether fish protecting devices and bypasses at barriers are functional and truly increase eel survival and escapement rates. In this study, total female silver eel escapement from a northern German drainage system (Schwentine River) was assessed over a period of three consecutive years, and downstream migration patterns were compared to potential environmental triggers. Furthermore, the benefit of two fish bypasses (surface and deep) and a trash rack at the hydropower station for the survival of migrating eels was examined, and the spawner quality of escaping silver eels was determined by analysing lipid content and infection intensities with the swimbladder parasite Anguillicoloides crassus. The results indicate that silver eel escapement from the Schwentine drainage system is far below the estimated values underlying the respective eel management plan, highlighting the necessity of direct migration assessments to validate indirect estimations that include multiple assumptions and uncertainties. Major downstream migration events took place during short time periods in autumn and appear to be influenced by river discharge and water temperatures, suggesting that a precise prediction of escapement events is possible. Regarding spawner quality, fat reserves appear sufficient for escaping silver eels to migrate and spawn. However, high A. crassus prevalence and infection intensities are assumed to further reduce the number of potential spawners. Another matter of concern is the high trash rack mortality at the hydropower station that illustrates the need of fish protecting devices that fulfil eel-specific requirements. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Fraser D.J.,Concordia University at Montreal | Debes P.V.,Thunen Institute of Fisheries Ecology | Bernatchez L.,Laval University | Hutchings J.A.,Dalhousie University | Hutchings J.A.,University of Oslo
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2014

Whether and how habitat fragmentation and population size jointly affect adaptive genetic variation and adaptive population differentiation are largely unexplored. Owing to pronounced genetic drift, small, fragmented populations are thought to exhibit reduced adaptive genetic variation relative to large populations. Yet fragmentation is known to increase variability within and among habitats as population size decreases. Such variability might instead favour the maintenance of adaptive polymorphisms and/or generate more variability in adaptive differentiation at smaller population size. We investigated these alternative hypotheses by analysing coding-gene, single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with different biological functions in fragmented brook trout populations of variable sizes. Putative adaptive differentiation was greater between small and large populations or among small populations than among large populations. These trends were stronger for genetic population size measures than demographic ones and were present despite pronounced drift in small populations. Our results suggest that fragmentation affects natural selection and that the changes elicited in the adaptive genetic composition and differentiation of fragmented populations vary with population size. By generating more variable evolutionary responses, the alteration of selective pressures during habitat fragmentation may affect future population persistence independently of, and perhaps long before, the effects of demographic and genetic stochasticity are manifest. © 2014 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved. Source

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