Marine Biology

, 164:80 | Cite as

Warming delays ovarian development in a capital breeder

  • Peter J. WrightEmail author
  • James E. Orpwood
  • Philip Boulcott
Original Paper


The consequences of rising temperature to reproductive development in the lesser sandeel, Ammodytes marinus, were studied in captive fish held at three temperatures to reflect the present day and future predicted winter temperature of North Sea habitat. Our results showed that an increase in temperature of 5 °C led to more than a 2 month delay in the timing of oocyte maturation. The inverse relationship between the stage of ovarian development and temperature in A. marinus is in contrast with that seen in many early year spawners. A close relationship between relative ovary size and ovarian development, as well as an overlap in oocyte diameter among treatments suggested that this temperature effect is mediated via an energetic constraint on reproductive investment. Temperature had no effect on the potential fecundity—length relationship in December, and while the intensity of pre-ovulatory atresia did not reflect condition, it was found to increase with temperature and decrease with oocyte diameter. The magnitude of potential temperature-related changes in spawning phenology could have important implications to the future match between hatching times of A. marinus and prey availability, although this may be partially mitigated by the positive temperature dependence of embryonic development.


Generalize Linear Model Ovarian Development Reproductive Investment Oocyte Development Standard Metabolic Rate 
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.



Ben Williamson, Clive Norris, Rory Long, and Brian Gall for providing technical support for the experimental work, Iain Gibb for age reading, Francis Neat, Declan Tobin, and Martha O’Sullivan for assisting with tagging and measuring the fish and Marlene Quintal for assistance with oocyte analysis. Georg Engelhard and two reviewers provided helpful comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. This work was funded by the Scottish Government (ROAME MF0765 and ST007), and all experimental work was carried out under a United Kingdom Home Office licence.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All work was carried out in accordance with the U.K. Animals Scientific Procedures Act 1986.


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Copyright information

© Crown Copyright 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Wright
    • 1
    Email author
  • James E. Orpwood
    • 1
  • Philip Boulcott
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Scotland Science, Marine LaboratoryAberdeenUK

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