Juvenile sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) in Lake Washington experience very high growth rates, but the mechanisms regulating their growth rates are poorly understood. The potential for food quality limitation of growth was tested using a coupled bioenergetics and mass balance model. Sockeye and zooplankton prey species were analyzed for their fatty acid composition. Ratios of phosphorus to carbon (P:C) for both sockeye and zooplankton were obtained from the literature. Based on sockeye stomach contents and zooplankton weights, diets of zooplankton biomass were calculated and monthly values of specific fatty acids and P:C ratios in the diet were derived. An increase in highly unsaturated fatty acids, especially in the liver, was observed with increased fork length up to smoltification size, with a subsequent decrease in smolts and kokanee. Measurements of docosahexaenoic (DHA) in daphnids were significantly lower than in cyclopoids. Model predictions suggest that sockeye are not limited by the availability of phosphorus or eicosapentaeinoic acid (EPA) in their diet but may experience limited growth because of DHA deficiencies. Thus, the ability and efficiency of sockeye at elongating 18:3 ω3, 18:4 ω3, and EPA to DHA may be of critical importance to lacustrine growth and production.
|Number of pages
|Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
|Published - Jan 1 2003