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Evidence of isotopic maternal transmission influence on bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) larval growth
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  • JOSÉ MARÍA QUINTANILLA HERVÁS,
  • ESTRELLA MALCA,
  • JOHN LAMKIN,
  • ALBERTO GARCÍA,
  • RAÚL LAIZ-CARRIÓN
JOSÉ MARÍA QUINTANILLA HERVÁS
Instituto Español de Oceanografía

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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ESTRELLA MALCA
University of Miami
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JOHN LAMKIN
NOAA
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ALBERTO GARCÍA
Instituto Español de Oceanografía
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RAÚL LAIZ-CARRIÓN
Instituto Español de Oceanografía
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Abstract

Pre-flexion stages of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) larvae were collected in 2014 during the peak of spawning in the two main spawning areas: Gulf of Mexico (GOM) and Mediterranean Sea (MED). We examined daily growth, otolith biometry, and stable isotopes and found that the GOM grew at a faster rate, had larger otoliths, wider daily increments, and significantly lower values of δ15N when compared to the MED. In addition, an intra-population comparative analysis between slow- and fast-growing individuals (deficient vs. optimal growth groups, respectively) showed that optimal growth groups had significantly lower δ15N within each spawning area, implying a direct relationship between growth potential, development, and maternal transmission of isotopic signatures. A third pre-flexion larval group that was aquaculture-reared also exhibited the same pattern to the wild larval groups. In addition, for the first time, we estimated the maternal trophic niches using models developed with field-captured pre-flexion larvae. The estimated maternal trophic niches for the GOM were narrower than the MED, implying differences in the maternal trophodynamics from each nursery area. Overall, the inter-population (GOM vs. MED) and intra-population growth groups (deficient vs. optimal) grew faster and had narrower maternal niches. This study shows the advantages that larval SIA research can aid in the understanding of the trophodynamics of their breeders by examining the trophic relationship of a spawning stock jointly with the development of growth potential in offspring within the same breeding season.