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Research article2013Peer reviewed

Effects of egg size, maternal age and temperature on egg, viability of farmed Arctic charr

Jeuthe, Henrik; Brännäs, Eva; Nilsson, Jan


The present study aims to analyze several biological and environmental variables to explain the unpredictable reproductive success at the main aquaculture facility involved in the Swedish Arctic charr breeding program. Data from 540 egg batches, collected from the years 2000 to 2011, were analyzed for the effects of factors such as temperature conditions, female age and egg size on egg viability (% of eyed eggs). An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) reduced 12 variables into 4 factors. Factor 1 mainly explains the negative relationship between high temperature in summer and egg viability. Factor 2 mainly explains a significant relationship between increasing temperatures in autumn (September to November) and decreased egg viability. Factor 3 explains that an early stripping date and increased temperature during stripping and egg incubation together have a negative, although not statistically significant, relationship to egg viability. Factor 4 explains a significant positive relationship between female age and egg size on the proportion of eyed eggs. The most relevant factors in explaining egg viability identified by the EFA analysis were evaluated further, indicating how farming conditions need to be improved. The broodstocks have been subjected to critically high water temperatures during July and August, resulting in decreased egg viability. Access to sufficiently cool water during summer is crucial. Based on the negative correlations found between incubation temperature and egg survival we suggest that a more moderate water heating may be beneficial. Most females were used as broodfish for several years. By applying individual tagging, data on the individual reproductive performance of females for up to 5 consecutive years could be analyzed. In this analysis, both egg size and the proportion of eyed eggs increased with the mean female age. There was also a strong age-unrelated positive correlation between egg size and survival. (C) 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Arctic charr; Salvelinus alpinus; Reproductive success; Temperature effect; Egg size; Female age

Published in

2013, Volume: 408, pages: 70-77