Undergraduate Research

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Matthew Virden
Matthew Virden

Removing the Adhesive Layer of Gulf Killifish (Fundulus Grandis) Eggs to Increase the Number of Eggs Available for Collection

Matthew Virden, a senior in the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture, studied improved production of Gulf killifish. Killifish are intertidal spawners found in estuaries in Northeast Florida and along the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico. There is a high demand for Gulf killifish from bait shops and anglers for use as live bait for sport fishes. This demand has led to a shortage in the overall supply of Gulf killifish, creating an increased interest in production. Adult killifish enter interior marshes during spring high tides to spawn by laying eggs in marsh grasses. The eggs have an adhesive layer, allowing them to stick to the vegetation for incubation until the next high tide. Hatching occurs once the eggs are re-submerged. While this adhesive layer is beneficial in their natural habitat, it makes it difficult to collect the eggs off spawning mats in recirculating aquaculture systems. Currently mats are shaken or tapped against a mesh screen; however, clumps of eggs are still visible within the mat. Studies were performed to assess different treatments to remove the adhesive layer to increase the number of eggs available for collection. Gulf killifish eggs were collected on 20 X 10 cm (8" X 4") Spawntex mats that were placed 8-20 cm below the water's surface in 9-3600 L recirculating aquaculture systems. Individual mats underwent randomized treatments and there was a total of nine treatments with three replicates each. Treatments consisted of 2g urea, 3g urea, 4g urea, 500 mg L-1 tannic acid, 1000 mg L-1 tannic acid, 1500 mg L-1 tannic acid, 12g cow's powdered milk, 24g cow's powdered milk, and 8ppt water. The removal efficiency for all treatments were slightly higher than the control. The three urea solutions were the only treatments that were significantly different from the control. Survival and hatching rates did not show any relation to treatments, but this could be the cause of inadequate sample size. Future studies should focus on increasing sample size and focusing on fewer solutions.


News / Recognition

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Katherine Abell, a wildlife, fisheries, and aquaculture major, and Zachary Senneff, a forestry major, were among the winners of the 2014 MSU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Abell placed first in the community engagement and social sciences categories and Senneff placed second in the biological sciences and engineering category.

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