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Prey selection of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) larvae in the Sargasso Sea: a molecular approach.
University of Kalmar, School of Pure and Applied Natural Sciences. University of Kalmar, School of Pure and Applied Natural Sciences.
2009 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Abstract

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) migrates to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. Even though the biology of A. anguilla leptocephali in the Sargasso Sea has been studied for several decades, information regarding their diet has remained unknown until now. Previous dietary studies concerning other species of leptocephali in the Pacific Ocean have been limited to the recognition of identifiable prey remains amongst gut contents. Hence, in this study a molecular approach relying on the detection of prey DNA amongst gut contents was used to study dietary profiles of A. anguilla leptocephali in the Sargasso Sea.

 

Leptocephali were collected during the circumglobal Galathea 3 expedition in spring 2007 to the Sargasso Sea. DNA extracted from gut contents were PCR amplified using universal primers targeting the nuclear 18S rRNA gene. In order to separate eel amplicons from prey amplicons, PCR products were analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Furthermore, clone libraries were constructed using universal primers targeting a portion of the 18S rRNA and mitochondrial COI gene, respectively. In total, the gut contents of 78 leptocephali were screened by DGGE.

 

A diverse array of eukaryotic taxa was identified, hence demonstrating the applicability of a universal PCR- DGGE approach to study gut contents of leptocephali. The results presented here show, for the first time, that young stages of A. anguilla leptocephali feed on a large variety of zooplankton of which many were gelatinous (e.g. Hydrozoa, Thaliacea and Ctenophora). Several of the identified taxa also constitute important parts of the Sargasso Sea zooplankton community and are of size ranges (adult or larval stages) that made them reasonable as leptocephali prey.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , p. 47
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hik:diva-2129Archive number: 2009:MBi1OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hik-2129DiVA, id: diva2:272878
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(English)
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Available from: 2009-10-19 Created: 2009-08-22 Last updated: 2010-03-10Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
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