Egg buoyancy variability in local populations of Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Previous studies have found strong evidences for Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) egg retention in fjords, which are caused by the combination of vertical salinity structure, estuarine circulation, and egg specific gravity, supporting small-scaled geographical differentiations of local populations. Here, we assess the variability in egg specific gravity for selected local populations of this species, that is, two fjord-spawning populations and one coastal-spawning population from Northern Norway (66–71 N/10–25 E). Eggs were naturally spawned by raised broodstocks (March to April 2009), and egg specific gravity was measured by a density-gradient column. The phenotype of egg specific gravity was similar among the three local populations. However, the associated variability was greater at the individual level than at the population level. The noted gradual decrease in specific gravity from gastrulation to hatching with an increase just before hatching could be a generic pattern in pelagic marine fish eggs. This study provides needed input to adequately understand and model fish egg dispersal.