Comparison of survival, growth and burying behavior of cultured and wild sandfish (Holothuria scabra) juveniles: implications for ocean mariculture

Hair, Cathy, Militz, Thane, Daniels, Nicholas, and Southgate, Paul C. (2020) Comparison of survival, growth and burying behavior of cultured and wild sandfish (Holothuria scabra) juveniles: implications for ocean mariculture. Aquaculture, 526. 735355.

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The success of mariculture activities involving the release of cultured marine invertebrates into the ocean is contingent on high survival and appropriate growth rates. Physical, physiological or behavioral characteristics that differ from those of wild conspecifics may be acquired through hatchery rearing, or as a result of stress induced by the release process. Such differences may compromise the 'fitness' of cultured animals. We investigated the influence of hatchery rearing and transport/handling stress on a commercial sea cucumber, sandfish (Holothuria scabra), by comparing survival, growth and behavior of release-size (5-15 g) cultured juveniles to those of like-size wild conspecifics. At the conclusion of an 85-day growth experiment in natural habitat, there was no significant difference in weight between cultured and wild sandfish juveniles. Burying behavior of cultured and wild sandfish juveniles was observed over a 48-h period in natural habitat with or without seagrass. A generalized additive model showed that cultured juveniles were slower to bury in the substrate after release, less likely to be buried at most times, and more likely to be buried in substrate where seagrass was present. However, they became better synchronized with their wild counterparts after 30 h. Survival of cultured and wild sandfish was high in both experiments (> 85%), but reduced burying by cultured individuals may increase the potential for predation because diel burying is the main predator avoidance strategy of sandfish juveniles.

Item ID: 63582
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-5622
Keywords: Holothuria scabra, Mariculture, Burying behavior, Juvenile growth, Survival
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Copyright Information: © 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 5 of the following PhD thesis: Hair, Catherine Ann (2020) Development of community-based mariculture of sandfish, Holothuria scabra, in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), National Fisheries Authority (NFA), Papua New Guinea
Projects and Grants: ACIAR project FIS/2014/061
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2020 07:34
FoR Codes: 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3005 Fisheries sciences > 300501 Aquaculture @ 100%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8301 Fisheries - Aquaculture > 830199 Fisheries - Aquaculture not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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