Survival of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) larvae hatched at different salinity and pH conditions


  • Atlantic bluefin tuna larvae survival is related to environmental salinity.
  • Higher larval survival rates are shown at 36–38 ppt.
  • Larval survival does not change within environmental pH from 8.0 to 7.3.
  • Larval survival is related to osmoregulatory processes.


In this study, we assessed the effect of environmental salinity and pH as independent factors on larval survival of Atlantic bluefin tuna (ABFT –Thunnus thynnus) together with their whole-body Na+/K+-ATPase and v-type H+-ATPase activities. Fertilized eggs of ABFT were obtained from a spontaneous spawning of broodstock in the farming facilities at El Gorguel (Cartagena, SE Spain) and were transferred to facilities of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) in Mazarrón (SE Spain). In a first experiment, eggs (200 fertilized eggs L−1 per treatment, in 3 replicates) were exposed to different salinities treatments and constant pH 8.0 (control) until hatch was completed (50 h post-fertilization, hpf, at 23 °C): 27, 30, 33, 36, 37, 38 (control), 39, 40, 43, 46 and 49 ppt. In a second experiment eggs (200 fertilized eggs L−1, in 3 replicates) were exposed to seawater salinity (SW: 38 ppt) and four reduced pH treatments until hatch was completed (50 hpf at 23 °C): 8.0 (control), 7.7, 7.5 and 7.3. An inverse “U-shaped” relationship was observed between environmental salinity and number of hatched larvae. An opposite pattern was observed for both Na+/K+-ATPase and H+-ATPase activities in hatched larvae, increasing both activities in groups exposed to extreme salinities. Thus, larval survival was higher at intermediate salinities and lower at the extreme salinities tested. These results suggest higher survival rates with lower active pumps activities. No significant differences in larval survival were observed with pH treatment, but lower H+-ATPase activity was detected at control environmental pH (pH 8.0). Survival results are discussed in terms of osmoregulatory cost adapting to a salinity and pH predicted for the near future scenarios.

Ruiz-Jarabo I., Laiz-Carrión R., Ortega A., de la Gándara F., Quintanilla J. M. & Mancera J. M., 2022. Survival of Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) larvae hatched at different salinity and pH conditions. Aquaculture 560: 738457. doi: 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2022.738457. Article (subscription required).

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