Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 96, Issue 6, pp 753–761 | Cite as

Thermohaline tolerance and embryonic development in capelin eggs (Mallotus villosus) from the Northeast Atlantic Ocean

  • Kim PræbelEmail author
  • Jørgen S. Christiansen
  • Anne Kettunen-Præbel
  • Svein-Erik Fevolden


Capelin (Mallotus villosus) displays alternative reproductive modes throughout its circumpolar distribution. This predicts divergent thermohaline tolerance of eggs because they are incubated in either a steady offshore or variable intertidal environment. We investigate herein thermohaline tolerance of eggs from the offshore spawning Barents Sea capelin. Subsequently, we compare our data with those previously published on other offshore and intertidal spawning capelin populations across the Northeast Atlantic Ocean, with the aim of determining possible patterns in the thermohaline tolerance of eggs from the alternative reproductive modes. In a 2 × 4 factorial design various combinations of salinities and temperatures had only negligible effect on the survival of eggs until first hatch. The embryonic development rate from fertilisation until first hatch across populations and between the two reproductive modes suggested non-local thermohaline tolerance towards the physical factors during development. Finally, no differences were observed in salinity tolerance from fertilisation to first hatch between populations representing different reproductive modes. The present findings demonstrate wide thermohaline tolerance of capelin eggs regardless of population origin and reproductive mode.


Mallotus villosus Eggs Survival Salinity Temperature Beach spawning 



We thank J. W. Behrens, N. Brundtland, L. L. Hansen, O. Nordgård, T. F. Sørensen and the crew onboard the R/V Jan Mayen for assistance in the field. I.-B. Falk-Petersen, the late H. Vilhjálmsson and four anonymous reviewers are thanked for many valuable comments on an earlier draft. The study is a contribution to the BASECOEX-Programme, grant no. 140290/140, partly funded by the Norwegian Research Council.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Præbel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jørgen S. Christiansen
    • 1
  • Anne Kettunen-Præbel
    • 2
  • Svein-Erik Fevolden
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Arctic and Marine BiologyUniversity of TromsøTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Nofima MarinTromsøNorway

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