Seasonal profiles in growth, energy reserves, gonad development, and plasma steroids in age 1+ cultured Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) females
Unwin, MJ and Poortenaar, CW and Rowe, DK and Boustead, NC and Porter, MJR, Seasonal profiles in growth, energy reserves, gonad development, and plasma steroids in age 1+ cultured Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) females, New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 38, (1) pp. 29-41. ISSN 0028-8330 (2004) [Refereed Article]
Sexual maturation in 2-year-old female Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) is unknown within their native range, but occurs in up to 20% of farmed stocks in New Zealand. To characterise the seasonal timing of oogenesis and subsequent ovarian development, we measured levels of plasma 17β-estradiol and testosterone, condition factor, and gonadosomatic and hepatosomatic index, for freshwater-reared female Chinook at 2-4-week intervals during their second year of life (May 2001-April 2002). These comprised two treatment groups under additional 24 h illumination from September to January, and two ambient controls. Macroscopic ovarian development first occurred in mid September (8 months before spawning), coinciding with detectable increases (≥0.3 ng ml-1) in both plasma steroids. Vitellogenesis was first observed in November and coincided with an increase in hepatosomatic index, possibly indicating the liver's role in transferring lipids to the developing ova. Neither mean weight nor the percentage of maturating fish (mean 6.9%) differed between the treatment and control groups at the end of the experiment, but ovarian development in the treatment group was advanced by 13 days relative to the controls. Reduced dark phase plasma melatonin levels confirmed that the additional light was sufficiently intense to produce a physiological response in the artificially illuminated fish.