Marine Biology

, Volume 158, Issue 9, pp 2079–2085 | Cite as

Effect of unfavorable trophic scenarios on amylase and protease activity of Nephrops norvegicus (L.) larvae during their first vertical migration: a laboratory approach

  • Patricia N. PochelonEmail author
  • Henrique Queiroga
  • Guiomar Rotllant
  • Antonina dos Santos
  • Ricardo Calado
Original Paper


In Portuguese waters, Nephrops norvegicus larvae hatch at 400–800 m depth and need to perform a vertical migration to food-rich shallower waters to find suitable prey. The effect of suboptimal feeding on digestive enzymes activity of N. norvegicus larvae during this early period of their larval life remains unknown. Protease and amylase activities were investigated ex situ using flurometry in laboratory-hatched larvae exposed to different feeding and/or starving scenarios in the 24 h following hatching, the period during which they typically accomplish their upward vertical migration. Amylase activity was very low in comparison with protease activity, indicating that carbohydrates are not a primary energy reserve. Larvae starved for 12 h and subsequently fed displayed no increase in amylase activity, which suggests that feeding may be required before 12 h post-hatch to trigger amylase activity. Protease activity was high under all feeding conditions, and the increase in protease activity under sustained starvation indicated the catabolism of protein reserves. The ability of first-stage N. norvegicus larvae to metabolize protein reserves may play a decisive role for their survival during their first vertical migration, as it enables them to overcome the deleterious effects of short-term starvation and/or suboptimal feeding.


Protease Activity Lipase Activity Vertical Migration Amylase Activity Decapod Crustacean 
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.



The authors thank Susana Pereira and Marta Sastre for their help during the sampling and processing of Norway lobster larvae. This work was supported by the Acção Integrada Luso-Espanhola 2010 “Dinâmica da flora microbiana intestinal e de enzimas digestivas em larvas de invertebrados marinhos num oceano em mudança à escala global” (Portugal: Nº E-116/10; Spain: PT2009-0069) and by the Portuguese Science Foundation (Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia-FCT) as a PhD scholarship (SFRH/BD/27615/2006 to PNP), and the research grant “LobAssess-Norway lobster stocks in Portugal: Basis for assessment using information on larval production and ecology” (POCI/BIA-BDE/59426/2004, PPCDT/BIA-BDE/59426/2004).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia N. Pochelon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Henrique Queiroga
    • 1
  • Guiomar Rotllant
    • 3
  • Antonina dos Santos
    • 2
  • Ricardo Calado
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar (CESAM)/Departamento de Biologia da Universidade de AveiroCampus Universitário de SantiagoAveiroPortugal
  2. 2.Instituto Nacional de Recursos Biológicos—IPIMARLisbonPortugal
  3. 3.IRTASant Carles de la RàpitaSpain

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