Swimming performance of marine fish larvae: review of a universal trait under ecological and environmental pressure

Downie, Adam T., Illing, Bjorn, Faria, Ana, and Rummer, Jodie L. (2020) Swimming performance of marine fish larvae: review of a universal trait under ecological and environmental pressure. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries, 30 (1). pp. 93-108.

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The larval phase of marine teleost fishes is characterized by important morphological and physiological modifications. Many of these modifications improve the larvae’s ability to swim, which satisfies a suite of crucial biological and ecological functions. Indeed, larval fish swimming performance has been considered a good proxy for overall condition, a predictor for growth and survival, and particularly helpful in assessing effects of natural and anthropogenic stress. Several methodologies have been developed to test larval fish swimming performance; however, measured swimming capabilities can strongly depend on the methodology utilised and developmental stage investigated. The aims of this review were, therefore, to link the ontogenetic development of swimming performance in early life stages of marine fishes, particularly the anatomical and physiological processes around the fins, muscles, and gills, with both the experimental methodologies used and the environmental stressors tested. We conducted a literature search and found 156 research papers relevant to swimming performance of marine teleost fish larvae. We found swimming performance to be highly variable among species and driven by temperature. In a meta-analysis focusing on the impacts of environmental stress on larval swimming performance, we found that prey reduction had the greatest impact on swimming. Methods used to evaluate swimming should keep the ontogenetic stage a focus, as forced swimming experiments are unfit for larvae prior to flexion of the notochord. Overall, while the data are deficient in some areas, we are able to highlight where the field of larval fish swimming could be directed and provide insight into which methods are best used under certain ecological scenarios, environmental stressors, and developmental stages.

Item ID: 67239
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1573-5184
Keywords: Anthropogenic stress, Developmental biology, Early life history, Performance, Swimming methodology, Teleosts
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Copyright Information: © 2020, Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 2 of the following PhD thesis: Downie, Adam Tyler (2021) How do coral reef fishes develop into athletes? PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Research Data: https://doi.org/10.25903/ypyg-0p08
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2021 02:26
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3104 Evolutionary biology > 310405 Evolutionary ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180203 Coastal or estuarine biodiversity @ 100%
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