Polar Biology

, Volume 16, Issue 8, pp 601–612 | Cite as

Oogenesis and gonad maturation in the copepodCalanus finmarchicus and the prediction of egg production from preserved samples

  • Barbara Niehoff
  • Hans-Jürgen Hirche
Original Paper


Oogenesis and gonad development ofCalamus finmarchicus during the winter spring transition in a fjord in Northern Norway were studied. A combination of observations on whole animals (macroscopic), taking advantage of their transparency, and histological sections was used to establish a system of gonad maturation stages, to describe the spawning cycle and to estimate egg production rates from preserved samples. During their development, oocytes change their shape and size, the morphology of the nucleus, and the appearance of the ooplasm. Four oocyte development stages were identified and related to a macroscopic system of four gonad developmental stages (GS) that can be applied to whole stained animals. During gonad development, the macroscopic morphological modifications of the gonads are mainly manifested in an increase in number and size of the oocytes and their distribution in diverticula and oviducts. The maturation processes during the spawning cycle (the period between egg depositions) were described from histological sections of females preserved at regular intervals after egg deposition. The macroscopic GS did not vary during the spawning cycle. This GS was a highly significant indicator for females, which spawned within 24 h after collection at 5°C. Another histological indicator for the last third of the spawning cycle is the appearance of distinct chromosomes, which, however, are only seen in histological sections. For the prediction of egg production rate of aCalanus population, in addition to the number of females spawning, knowledge of clutch size and the interval of clutch deposition is required. Clutch size was determined by counting the number of the oocyte stages to be released during the next spawning event in serial sections of the gonads. There was no significant difference in clutches laid by the females during 5 days before preservation. From the observations it seems that GS 4 predicts females that are ready to spawn within the minimum spawning interval characterisitic for a given temperature. If this holds true, it should be possible to predict in situ egg production rates solely from preserved samples.


Histological Section Clutch Size Gonad Development Oocyte Development Gonad Maturation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Niehoff
    • 1
  • Hans-Jürgen Hirche
    • 1
  1. 1.Alfred-Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine ResearchBremerhavenGermany

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