Marine Biology

, Volume 118, Issue 3, pp 377–382 | Cite as

The effect of food availability, age or size on the RNA/DNA ratio of individually measured herring larvae: laboratory calibration

  • C. Clemmesen


RNA/DNA ratios in individual herring (Clupea harengus) larvae (collected from Kiel Bay, Baltic Sea, in 1989) were measured and proved suitable for determining nutritional status. Significant differences between fed and starving larvae appeared after 3 to 4 d of food deprivation in larvae older than 10 d after hatching. The RNA/DNA ratio showed an increase with age or length of the larvae and was less pronounced in starving larvae compared to fed larvae. The individual variability of RNA/DNA ratios in relation to larval length of fed larvae and of larvae deprived of food for intervals of 6 to 9 d is presented. Based on the length dependency and the individual variability found within the RNA/DNA ratios, a laboratory calibration is given to determine whether a larva caught in the field has been starving or not. An example for a field application is shown.


Nutritional Status Food Availability Field Application Food Deprivation Individual Variability 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Clemmesen
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Hydrobiologie und FischereiwissenschaftUniversität HamburgGermany

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