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Influence of year round reproduction on quality of gametes and early live stages of pike perch (Sander lucioperca)

The European pike perch (Sander lucioperca) is one of the upcoming species for aquaculture in Germany. Especially the production in recirculation aquaculture systems (RAS) were environmental conditions are constant and water consumption is low is considered to be promising. A consistent availability of fingerlings for RAS stocking is a limiting factor but with year round reproduction this bottleneck can be overcome. In a prior DFG project the endocrine regulation of pike perch gonad ripening was studied and a protocol for successful photo thermal maturity induction was developed. This protocol is now used in commercial pike perch reproduction.  

Within the current DFG project the influence of photo thermal maturity induction on quality parameters of pike perch gametes and early life stages is evaluated. One aim of the project is the identification on how the egg, sperm and larval quality is determined by parental influences. This will be done by using selected biochemical, enzymatic and molecular biological markers as well as growth and condition factors.

Therefore the influence of photo thermal maturity induction and the degree of domestication, pre ovulation and parental effects like length and spawning experience are compared. Egg composition, sperm motility and fertilization rate will be used to identify genetic effects as well as growth and exposition experiments with larval pike perch. The connection of a multifactorial experimental design with analytic approaches of the parental fish, their gametes up to the early life stages of their offspring is unique and holds a high potential for new insight in characteristics of pike perch reproduction.

Aim of our project is to identify basic quality parameters for gametes and early life stages of the European pike perch with commonly used methods and to describe the interactions of parental properties regarding to offspring quality. We want to identify resilient quality parameters that can be traced back to their determining factors and can be used to identify suitable individuals for breeding in commercial RAS. At best the identified quality parameters will one day contribute to a standardized protocol for life stock and reproduction management and enable the breeder to quantify the achievements of the breeding process