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, 84 (1), 170-6.e2

Some Quantitative Indicators of Postovulatory Aging and Its Effect on Larval and Juvenile Development of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar)

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Some Quantitative Indicators of Postovulatory Aging and Its Effect on Larval and Juvenile Development of Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar)

Maren Mommens et al. Theriogenology.

Abstract

Modern out-of-season egg production in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) increases the risk of postovulatory aging (POA) of oocytes. Postovulatory aging is known to influence oocyte quality in salmonids, but reliable tests for POA are lacking in Atlantic salmon egg production. To address this problem, we have collected oocytes from the same 20 Atlantic salmon females sequentially in approximately 1-week intervals, from the start of ovulation until 28 days postovulation (dpo), to determine the effect of natural retention of matured oocytes in body coelomic cavity on further performance of embryos and juveniles produced from those oocytes. Also, we investigated oocyte water hardening and several coelomic fluid parameters as potential quantitative indicators of POA. Oocyte quality decreased significantly from 22 dpo onward, as inferred from decrease in fertilization success and survival of embryos, alevins, and juveniles and increase in alevin and juvenile deformity rates. The occurrence of head deformities was significantly related to postovulatory age of oocytes. Coelomic fluid pH decreased significantly at 28 dpo and correlated positively with fertilization rates (r = 0.45), normal eyed embryo rates (r = 0.67), and alevin relative survival rates (r = 0.63) and negatively correlated with total alevin deformity rates (r = -0.59). Oocyte weight gain at 60 minutes decreased significantly at 28 dpo and correlated negatively with total alevin deformities and the occurrence of cranial nodules (r = -0.99). Generally, quality of ovulated oocytes remained stable for the first 2 weeks after ovulation. Later on, POA negatively influenced Atlantic salmon embryo, alevin, and juvenile performance. For the first time, we show a long-term effect of POA on salmonid juvenile performance. Standardized pH measurements of coelomic fluid could potentially improve embryo and juvenile production by identifying low-quality oocytes at an early stage during the production.

Keywords: Aquaculture; Atlantic salmon; Embryonic development; Gamete quality; Postovulatory aging.

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