Marine Biology

, Volume 154, Issue 2, pp 295–306 | Cite as

The influence of temperature on the development of Baltic Sea sprat (Sprattus sprattus) eggs and yolk sac larvae

  • C. PetereitEmail author
  • H. Haslob
  • G. Kraus
  • C. Clemmesen
Research Article


In spring 2004 and 2005 we performed two sets of experiments with Baltic sprat (Sprattus sprattus balticus Schneider) eggs and larvae from the Bornholm Basin simulating ten different temperature scenarios. The goal of the present study was to analyse and parameterise temperature effects on the duration of developmental stages, on the timing of important ontogenetic transitions, growth during the yolk sac phase as well as on the survival success of eggs and early larval stages. Egg development and hatching showed exponential temperature dependence. No hatching was observed above 14.7°C and hatching success was significantly reduced below 3.4°C. Time to eye pigmentation, as a proxy for mouth gape opening, decreased with increasing temperatures from 17 days post hatch at 3.4°C to 7 days at 13°C whereas the larval yolk sac phase was shortened from 20 to 10 days at 3.8 and 10°C respectively. Maximum survival duration of non-fed larvae was 25 days at 6.8°C. Comparing the experimental results of Baltic sprat with existing information on sprat from the English Channel and North Sea differences were detected in egg development rate, thermal adaptation and in yolk sac depletion rate (YSDR). Sprat eggs from the English Channel showed significantly faster development and the potential to develop at temperatures higher than 14.7°C. North Sea sprat larvae were found to have a lower YSDR compared to larvae from the Baltic Sea. In light of the predictions for global warming, Baltic sprat stocks could experience improved conditions for egg development and survival.


Early Life Stage Bornholm Basin Gotland Basin Gdansk Deep Sprattus Sprattus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was funded by the DFG (German Research Foundation) grant RECONN2 (CL 126/3-1) within the priority programme 1162 “AQUASHIFT” and by the GLOBEC-Germany programme (FKZ03F0320E0). We gratefully acknowledge Hans-Harald Hinrichsen, Jörn Schmidt, Jens-Peter Herrmann and the crew of RV “ALKOR” for providing us with sprat eggs and the support from Bastian Huwer and Helgi Mempel during the experimental phases. We would like to address special thanks to Prof. Myron Peck and Dr Rudi Voss for their helpful ideas concerning the preparation of and three anonymous reviewers for improving the manuscript. The experiments complied with the current animal care laws of the Federal Republic of Germany.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Petereit
    • 1
    Email author
  • H. Haslob
    • 1
  • G. Kraus
    • 2
  • C. Clemmesen
    • 1
  1. 1.Leibniz-Institute of Marine Sciences IFM-GEOMARKielGermany
  2. 2.National Institute of Aquatic ResourcesDanmarks Tekniske Universitet DTU AquaCharlottenlundDenmark

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