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1 REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF INVASIVE LIONFISH ( P TEROIS VOLITANS/MILES COMPLEX ) FROM LITTLE CAYMAN ISLAND By PATRICK GORMAN GARDNER A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2012
2 2012 Patrick Gorman Gardner
3 To my family
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank the members of my supervisory committee. Throughout the duration of my graduate school experience, they have provided continual support and guidance. Dr. Tom Frazer initially gave me the opportunity to work in his lab, and always en couraged me to develop both a broader view and practical application of my research Dr. Chuck Jacoby guided my personal development in statistics, data interpretation and scientific writing Dr. Roy Yanong played an integral role in growing my knowledg e of f ish reproduction and histological analyses I would also like to thank others who assisted with this project. The dive resorts of Little Cayman Islands organized culls and donated the fish for this project. Without their tireless effort, this pro ject would not be possible. Morgan Edwards Savanna Barry, Neil van Niekerk, and Robert Hedges were integral in the organization and execution of the d ata collection. H arry Grier has extensive knowledge of fish reproductive anatomy and physiology, and he was always willing to share t his knowledge and provide advice Numerous graduate students professors and staff in the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program supported me throughout this project. Finally I would like to thank my parents Wayne and Lisa Gardner, for their unrelenting support while I follow my career path.
5 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 4 LIST OF TABLES ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 7 LIST OF FIGURES ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 8 LIST OF ABBREVIATI ONS ................................ ................................ ........................... 10 ABSTRACT ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 11 CHAPTER 1 LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ .......................... 13 Indo Pacific Lionfish Invasion ................................ ................................ ................. 13 Introduction and Establishment ................................ ................................ ........ 13 Impacts of Spread and Establishment ................................ .............................. 15 Removal Efforts ................................ ................................ ................................ 17 Evaluating Fish Reproduction ................................ ................................ ................. 18 Marine Teleost Oogenesis and Spermatogenesis ................................ ............ 18 Quantifying Reproductive Effort ................................ ................................ ........ 23 Lionfish Reproduction ................................ ................................ ............................. 27 Ovary Morp hology and Spawning Behavior ................................ ..................... 27 Spawning Frequency, Batch Fecundity, Maturation ................................ ......... 28 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ................ 29 2 LIONFISH GONAD DEVELOPMENT, SPAWNING SEASON, SPAWNING FREQUENCY AND BATCH FECUNDITY ................................ .............................. 30 Introduction ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 30 Methods ................................ ................................ ................................ .................. 31 Field Collections ................................ ................................ ............................... 31 Gonadosomatic Indices ................................ ................................ .................... 32 Visual Staging ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 32 Histological Staging ................................ ................................ .......................... 33 Oocyte Measurements ................................ ................................ ..................... 33 Spawning Frequency ................................ ................................ ........................ 34 Batch Fecundity ................................ ................................ ................................ 35 Female Size at M aturity ................................ ................................ .................... 36 Results ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 36 Gonadosomatic Index ................................ ................................ ...................... 36 Visual Stagi ng ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 37 Histological Staging ................................ ................................ .......................... 38 Oocyte Measurements ................................ ................................ ..................... 39
6 Spawning F requency ................................ ................................ ........................ 40 Batch Fecundity ................................ ................................ ................................ 40 Female Size at Maturity ................................ ................................ .................... 40 Discussion ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 41 3 CONCLUSION ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 64 APPENDIX LIST OF REF ERENCES ................................ ................................ ............................... 67 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................ ................................ ............................ 76
7 LIST OF TABLES Table page 2 1 Maturity classes for visually staged fish, adapted from Everson et al. (1989). ... 47 2 2 Maturity classes for histologically staged fish as per Grier et al. (2009). ............ 47 2 3 Testes maturation classes for histologically staged male fish based on the status of the germinal epithelium (GE) and stages of germ cells present as per Grier and Taylor ( 1998). ................................ ................................ ............... 48 2 4 Analysis of variance for female GSI with the fixed factor month of capture. Results of Anderson Darling test for norma homoscedasticity shown. ................................ ................................ .................... 48 2 5 Analysis of variance for male GSI with the fixed factor month of capture. Results of Anderson homoscedasticity shown. ................................ ................................ .................... 48 2 6 Analysis of variance f or oocyte measurements. Factors include oocyte stage (primary growth, secondary growth, oocyte maturation), individual fish, and field of view (FOV) measured. Results of Anderson Darling test for normality ................................ ................ 49 2 7 Daily spawning fraction for fish from 7 through 16 May 2012 (13 May excluded). ................................ ................................ ................................ ........... 49 2 8 Independently estimated batch fecundities from left and right ovaries. For these four fish, coefficients of variation are reported. CV = coefficient of variation. ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 50 2 9 Analysis of covariance for the effect of total length (TL) and sampling season on batch fecundity. Results of Anderson Darli ng test for normality and ................................ ....................... 50 2 10 Analysis of covariance for the effect of total weight ( TW) and sampling season on batch fecundity. Results of Anderson Darling test for normality ................................ ................ 50
8 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 2 1 Three examples of the classes of visual stages. Ovary denoted by white arrow. A) Immature with no well developed blood vessels and no visible oocytes, B) developing w ith visible, tightly packed oocytes, and C) ripe with the gelatinous egg mass formed and eggs dispersed throughout egg mass. No picture is available for the spent stage. Photos courtesy Patrick G. Gardner. ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 51 2 2 Examples of three of the six histological stages, defined by the most advanced oocyte stages present. Primary growth at A) 10x and B) 40x, secondary growth at C) 4x and D) 20x, oocyte maturation (early) at E) 4x and F) 20x, oocyte maturation (late) at G) 4x and H) 20x. Scale bar in all images is 200 M. Photos courtesy Patrick G. Gardner. ................................ ................ 52 2 4 Mean GSI +/ 95% CL for female fish (squares) from February 2011 to August 2012. Secondary vertical axis displays mean water temperature ( C) from 4.6 m depth (triangles). Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size. ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 54 2 5 Mean GSI +/ 95% CL for male fish (squares) from February 2011 to August 2012. Secondary vertical axis displays mean water temperature ( C) from 4.6 m depth (triangles). Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size. ................................ ................................ ................................ .................... 55 2 6 Percen tage of each female visual stage (immature, developing, ripe and spent) for each month from October 2011 to August 2012. Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size. ................................ ................................ 56 2 7 Percentage of female histological stage by month for January 2011 to December 2011. Fish from batch fecundity sampling from October, November, and December (n = 2, 3 and 4, respectively) were included as oocyte maturation (late) because they have hydrated oocytes. Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size. ................................ ..................... 57 2 8 Percentage o f male histological stage by month for January 2011 to December 2011. Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size. ......... 58 2 9 Ex ample of observed male fish with primary oocytes within testis tissue at A) 10x and B) 40x. White arrows point to oocytes with clearly identified nuclei. Scale bar in both images is 200 M. Photos courtesy Patrick G. Gardner. ....... 59 2 10 Mean oocyte diameters (primary, secondary, and maturation oocytes) by stage (primary growth, secondary growth, maturation) prior to transformation. Error bars indicate standard error ( M). ................................ ............................. 60
9 2 11 Batch fecundity counts by total length (mm) for lionfish from summer (May 2012; squ ares) and winter (October, November, and December 2011; circles) seasons. Linear relationships: summer, y = 306.3x 54572, R 2 = 0.799; winter, y = 101.81x 14074, R 2 = 0.323 ................................ .................. 61 2 12 Batch fecundity counts by total length (mm) for lionfish from summer and winter combined. Linear relationship: y = 308.67x 58265, R 2 = 0.704. ............ 62 2 13 Batch fecundity counts by total fish weight (g) for lionfish from summer and winter combined. Linear relationship: y = 114.77x 6009.4, R 2 = 0.703. .......... 63
10 LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS ANCOVA Analysis of covariance ANOVA Analysis of variance C Degrees Celsius CV Coefficient of variation d Day DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid FOV Field of view g Gram GE Germinal epithelium GSI Gonadosomatic index h Hours ha Hectare log 10 Logarithm base 10 m Meter M Micrometer mL Milliliter mm Millimeter POC Postovulatory complex POF Postovulatory follicle TL Total length TW Total weight
11 Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF INVASIVE LIONFISH ( P TEROIS VOLITANS/MILES COMPLEX ) FROM LITTLE CAYMAN ISLAND By Patrick Gorman Gardner December 2012 Chair: Thomas K. Frazer Major: Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Pterois volitans and Pterois miles venomous marine fish in the family Scorpaenidae, are native to the Pacific and Indian Oceans They were f irst observed off F lorida in 1985 but have subsequently spread north along the Atlantic seaboard and are now established throughout the broader Caribbean region (Schofield 2009). In their invaded range, lionfish densities are often significantly higher than those recorded in their native range In addition, field studies have shown that lionfish reduce recruitment of reef fish (Albins and Hixon 2008) and cause a shift from coral and sponge communities to algal dominated communities (Lesser and Slattery 2011) Despite these potentially devastating effects, information on key life history characteris tics for lionfish is sparse. Objectives of this study were to quantify 1) spawning season, 2) pe riodicity in gonad development, 3) spawning frequency 4) batch fecundity and 5) female size at maturity. Calculation of GSIs, histological and visual staging of gonads, and egg counts were applied to determine reproductive characteristics. After maturation, lionfish appeared to reproduce year round. The proportion of females co ntaining hydrated oocytes indicated that mature lionfish spawn every 2 3 d. Females preparing to spawn appeared capable of releasing 1800 41945 eggs, with larger numbers of eggs released
12 by larger females. Lionfish matured at 189 190 mm total length. Re productive parameters estimated in this study can be incorporated into population models, to provide improved insights into spatial and temporal changes in population dynamics associated with expansion, establishment and stabilization. Resource managers c an use these results to guide removal and other control efforts
13 CHAPTER 1 LITERATURE REVIEW Indo Pacific Lionfish Invasion Pterois volitans and Pterois miles venomous marine fish in the family Scorpaenidae, are native to the Pacific and Indian Oceans, respectively (Kulbicki et al. 2012). Although these species can be differentiated through morphometrics, meristics (Schultz 1986) and mitochondria l DNA sequences (Hamner et al. 2007), they are so closely related that a single, allopatrically separated population cannot be ruled out (Kochizus et al. 2003). These fish are commonly referred to as the Pterois volitans/miles complex, or simply lionfish. In their native range, lionfish are found in many habitats including coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses from shallow water to over 75 m depth (Kulbicki et al. 2012) Lionfish occupy similar habitats in their invaded range, but are generally more ab undant ( Green and Ct 2009 ; Darling et al. 2011; Kul bicki et al. 2012 ) Introduction and Establishment Indo Pacific lionfish were first observed in 1985 off Dania Beach, Florida (Morris and Akins 2009). In August 1992, six lionfish were seen in Biscayne Bay following release from an aquarium (Courtenay 1995). By 2000 lionfish had been sighted regularly off Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Ca rolina, New York, and Bermuda. Lionfish began invading the Bahamas in 2004 and were considered established by 2005. Lionfish sightings then began to move south into the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008. In 2008, lionfish were observed in the waters surrounding Little Cayman Island and they were considered established there by 2009 (Schofield 2009). Lionfish cont inue to expand their range Most recently, lionfish have been sighted in Martinique,
14 Venezuela, and the northern Gulf of Mexico (USGS NAS 2012). Genetic studies from fish in the invaded range suggest low genetic diversity and strong founder effects (Hamne r et al. 2007). The western Atlantic is not the first case of lionfish invasion. In 1992, P. miles were first documented in the Mediterranean (Golani and Sonin 1992), but information on the extent of the ecological impact of this invasion is nonexistent. Since its construction in 1869, the Suez Canal has provided a pathway for many marine species to spread from the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea (Spanier and Galil 1991). This occurrence is so common that the movement of marine species through Suez Cana l into the Mediterranean is referred to as Lessepsian migration (Golani 1998), named after the French engineer overseeing the canal construction. Although the pathway for introduction of lionfish into the Mediterranean is straightforward, multiple pathway s may have resulted in the lionfish invasion of the western Atlantic. Two possible vectors for lionfish introduction are aquarium releases and ballast water exchange, with available evidence pointing to releases ( Whitfield et al. 2002 ; Semmens et al. 2004 ) The aquarium trade is largely unregulated, and although releasing captive fish in Florida is illegal, enforcement is challenging (Semmens et al. 2004). In addition, fish that survive transport are likely to be more vigorous than other within their coho rt, which can lead to a higher probability of propagule survival (Padilla and Williams 2004). Based on marine non native species present in southeast Florida, the species imported, and international shipping pressure and locations, aquarium release is cur rently considered the primary vector for introduction of lionfish and other non native fishes in the western Atlantic ( Whitfield et al. 2002 ; Semmens et al. 2004 ).
15 In the western Atlantic, lionfish have invaded all major environments including seagrasses, mangroves, and reefs, but fitness, survival and occupancy may vary among these habitats. For example, lionfish colonized both mangrove and reef habitats off San Salvador, Bahamas, and although weights of gut contents were similar, lionfish collected from r eefs were larger than those collected from mangroves (Barbour et al. 2010). Lionfish surveys conducted off Roatan, Honduras, documented lionfish on patch reefs and seagrass, with more lionfish on coral reefs and more juveniles in shallow habitats (Biggs a nd Olden 2011). Off South Caicos, Turks and Caicos Islands, lionfish first appeared in shallow habitats, and seven months later, they were observed in deeper reef habitats. In 2 3 years, fish were larger and more abundant on deeper reefs (Claydon et al. 2012). Although some studies suggest that lionfish move among habitats, two studies suggest a higher degree of site fidelity. In the Loxahatchee River Estuary in Florida, lionfish were tagged and recaptured over sixteen months. Most fish (56% of recaptur ed individuals) exhibited no movement, whereas a few fish (3% of recaptured individuals) moved over 100 m (Jud and Layman 2012). Furthermore, on the coral reefs off Little Cayman Island, lionfish did not redistribute and exploit habitat made available by directed removals (Frazer et al. 2012). More information is needed to determine lionfish home ranges and understand spatiotemporal variations in habitat use. Impacts of Spread and Establishment Lionfish densities in the western Atlantic far exceed those o f their analogs in the Indo Pacific, with densities exceeding 390 lionfish ha 1 ( Green and Ct 2009 ; Frazer et al. 2012 ) versus a maximum of 26.3 fish ha 1 in the native range (Kulbicki et al. 2012). Several life history, morphological and behavioral cha racteristics may be contributing to
16 competitive advantages and a rapid, successful invasion. At the bases of the spines in the dorsal, pelvic, and anal fins are paired glands containing venom that is injected via grooves along each spine ( Halstead et al. 1955 ). Aposematic coloring warns potential predators of these defensive spines, which may reduce predation on lionfish (Hofreiter and Schneberg 2010). Long, colorful pectoral fins aid in corralling and cornering prey while hiding propulsive movements of the caudal fin (Fishelson 1975). In addition, lionfish blow water towards prey, which distracts the target, causes it to turn toward the lionfish, and makes it easier to catch and swallow (Albins and Lyons 2012). In comparison to its competitors, these characteristics may lead to higher capture rates and predation efficiencies on nave prey (Albins and Lyons 2012). In fact, f ield studies in the Bahamas have shown that lionfish are efficient and effective predators that can reduce recruitment of native re ef fish and cause a shift from coral and sponge communities to algal dominated communitie s (Albins and Hixon 2008, Lesser and Slattery 2011). On experimental artificial reefs, lionfish reduced recruitment of reef fish by an average of 79% (Albins and Hixo n 2008). On mesophotic reefs in the Bahamas, a shift to algal dominated communities occurred after lionfish invaded, and changes in other biotic (disease or mesograzers) or abiotic (light, nutrients or storm events) factors were not correlated with this d rastic change (Lesser and Slattery 2011). Whereas shifts to algal dominance linked to overfishing have been documented to occur on a decadal scale, the lionfish shift occurred in less than three years (Lesser and Slattery 2011). Impacts in seagrass and m angrove habitats have yet to be determined, but these habitats are of critical concern because they often serve as nursery areas for
17 economically and ecologically important specie s (Laegdsgaard and Johnson 1995; Nagelkerken et al. 2002; Mumby et al. 2004 ). Beyond ecological impacts, increasing lionfish numbers in the western Atlantic may result in increasing threats to human health. When the needlelike spines of lionfish penetrate flesh, the integumentary sheaths covering those spines are broken which caus es venom to be injected (Halstead et al. 1955). The principal symptom from a lionfish sting is pain, which is most effectively treated with hot water. Occasionally, more serious symptoms occur, including edema, vesicle formation or tissue necrosis (Vetra no et al. 2002). Removal Efforts Along with potential harm to humans, it is clear that lionfish cause ecological harm exacerbated by high densities, and yet managers face difficult decisions as they weigh tradeoffs associated with committing resources to r emoving lionfish. Nevertheless, many managers are encouraging removals (FFWCC 2012). Efforts range from individuals spearing lionfish to government agencies and nonprofit organizations coordinating events ( FKNMS 2012 ; REEF 2012). Despite these efforts, only one study has documented the consequences of well organized, targeted removals (Frazer et al. 2012). Off Little Cayman Island, weekly removals by volunteers from the community reduced lionfish abundances over a six month period, and redistribution of lionfish following removal was limited (Frazer et al. 2012). Although complete eradication is unlikely in the foreseeable future, maintenance management, or well planned, targeted lionfish removals, can ameliorate impacts on critical habitats or economic ally and ecologically important species (Frazer et al. 2012).
18 Evaluations of fisheries management, including evaluation of lionfish removals, benefit from scenarios tested with models of population dynamics. Critical inputs to these models include recruit ment success, growth rates, size at maturity, spawning frequency, and estimates of size or age specific natural mortality and fishing mortality. Rigorous and accurate models will a llow managers to predict how lionfish populations will respond to removals and help them devise clear, goal oriented strategies to reduce negative impacts from this invasive species. Evaluating Fish Reproduction Understanding key elements of fish reproduction is essential to rigorous modeling of population dynamics. Important rep roductive characteristics are determined by macroscopic and histological examination of gonads. Macroscopic evaluations, e.g., visual staging of gonads or calculation of gonadosomatic indices (GSIs), provide information on large numbers of fish relatively rapidly. In contrast, histology, the study of the microscopic, anatomical structure of tissue through sectioning, staining, and analysis by microscopy, takes more time, but it supports more detailed observations of gonad development and staging as well as oocyte measurements (Woods et al. 2003) In combination, these approaches provide valuable data on maturation, spawning and fecundity. Marine Teleost Oogenesis and Spermatogenesis When describing gonadal development from histology, the classification sche me must contain adaptive staging criteria and utilize standardized terminology. Recently, a more unified approach for teleosts has been advocated by Grier and his colleagues. This scheme applies classical terminology, and was constructed based on gonadal morphology and regulatory endocrinology. The following sections describe ovarian and
19 testes development for marine teleosts with pelagic eggs based on Grier and Taylor (1998) and Grier et al. (2009). Grier and his colleagues divide female maturation and development into six stages: oogonial proliferation, chromatin nucleolus, primary growth, secondary growth, oocyte maturation and ovulation. Each stage is divided into one or more steps. Atresia, although not considered a stage of oogenesis, also plays a critical role in energy allocation and future fecundity (Grier et al. 2009). Oogonial proliferation begins with mitotic divisions of oogonia in the germinal epithelia, the epithelia that borders the ovarian lumen and indeterminately produces oocytes and f ollicles (Grier 2002). This division leads to the creation of germ cell nests composed of prefollicle cells and oogonia (Grier et al. 2009). The chromatin nucleolus stage begins with the onset of meiosis, and the leptotene stage of prophase I begins mei osis. The oocytes remain in the germinal epithelium and prefollicle cells begin to surround them, signifying the beginning of folliculogenesis. Folliculogenesis is incomplete at the onset of the next stage (Grier et al. 2009). The appearance of basophili c ooplasm indicates the start of the primary growth stage. The oocytes enter into late diplotene of prophase I. The oocyte has a spherical germinal vesicle. In this stage, folliculogenesis is completed with follicle cells, zona pellucida, thecal cells, and basement membrane (connective tissue layers) surrounding the follicle. At this point, the oocytes develop multiple nucleoli which orient along the inner membrane of the germinal vesicle. Depending on species, cortical alveoli and oil droplets form (G rier et al. 2009).
20 Secondary growth begins with the accumulation of lipoprotein yolk within the ooplasm. This stage is often referred to as vitellogenesis, named from the precursor of yolk lipoprotein, vitellogenin. The oocyte grows dramatically due to the influx of lipoprotein yolk globules which now displace cortical alveoli to the periphery of the cell. During this stage there is an increase in oocyte size, and the zona pellucida thickens. By the end of the stage, the follicle is full grown, and th e germinal vesicle is located at (Grier et al. 2009). Oocyte maturation involves both nuclear and ooplasmic changes. Hydration causes an increase in the follicular diameter. The further increase in oocyte diameter is due to hydrolysis of the lipoprotein yolk which increases the concentration of free amino a cids in the oocyte causing an influx of water. After stimulation by progestin and in the early steps of this stage in marine pelagic species, the germinal vesicle is displaced to the periphery of the oocyte, towards the animal pole, by an aggregated and c ontinuously consolidating oil globule. The nuclear envelope breaks down releasing the chromosomes into the ooplasm. The lipoprotein yolk droplets completely fuse, and the oocyte becomes fully hydrated late in oocyte maturation. The germinal vesicle brea ks down after reaching the animal pole. Resumption of meiosis is the last step in this stage, and once activated, completion of meiosis leads to the maturation of the oocyte (Grier et al. 2009). Ovulation occurs when the oocyte travels to the ovarian lume n and becomes a fully mature ovum, or egg. During ovulation, the egg is extruded from the follicle complex, comprised of follicle cells, basement membrane and theca (Grier et al. 2009).
21 The process of atresia breaks down follicles and reduces the total nu mber of oocytes at ovulation. Atretic follicles phagocytize oocytes, and follicle cells are, in turn, phagocytized by stromal cells resulting in reabsorption of oocytes. Although it most often occurs during secondary growth, it can occur at any stage. H igh prevalence of atretic vitellogenic oocytes can signify the end of the spawning season (Fitzhugh et al. 1993). In addition, excessive atresia can result from physiological stressors (Kumar and Pant 1984, Schreck 2001). Two important outcomes from atre sia include regulation of fecundity and recycling of resources. Since atresia regulates the number of oocytes that develop, atresia regulates fecundity (Grier et al. 2009). The ability to recover energetically expensive compounds via atresia is crucial t o the overall energetic balance of the fish (Wood and Van der Kraak 2001). Grier and his colleagues divide male maturation and development into five reproductive classes: regressed, early germinal epithelium (GE) development, mid GE development, late GE de velopment, and regression. These classes primarily are distinguished by the germ cells present and continuity of the germinal epithelium (Grier and Taylor 1998). The regressed class is characterized by the presence of only primary or primary and secondar y spermatogonia. Spermatocysts are absent The germinal epithelium is continuous; therefore, there is a consecutive and uninterrupted system of germ cells and supporting sertoli cells situated on a basement membrane along the entire length of the testes (Grier and Taylor 1998). The next class, early GE development, also is characterized by a continuous, active germinal epithelium between the proximal and distal ends of the testes.
22 Spermatogenesis begins in this stage with the formation of spermatocysts, a collection of germ cells in synchronous development surrounded by sertoli cells. Spermatocysts are scattered at the beginning of this class, but before entering the next class they form a continuous layer within the germinal epithelium. The larger sper matocysts occupy more volume than the spermatogonia, which increases the volume of the lobules and testes (Grier and Taylor 1998). Mid GE development begins when germ cells become discontinuous at the proximal ends of the lobules, towards the testes ducts. At the distal ends of the lobules, the germinal epithelium is still continuous. Spermatocysts begin releasing sperm, which can be seen in the lobule lumina. The proximal ends become discontinuous, transitioning from sperm production to storage. As matu ration progresses, only sertoli cells and the basement membrane remain in the proximal germinal epithelium (Grier and Taylor 1998). In the late GE development class, the proximal ends of the lobule are filled with sperm. Few spermatocysts are present. Wh en at least one lobule contains discontinuous germinal epithelium extending to its terminus, the fish is considered in the late maturation class (Grier and Taylor 1998). The final class in the male reproductive cycle, regression, is characterized by three signs (Grier and Taylor 1998). First, testes volume decreases. Second, there are few, scattered spermatocysts resulting in decreased sperm production. Third, the sperm filled lumen extends all the way out to the terminus of the lobule. Melano macrophag e centers, which function to recycle and store cellular debris or other material ( Blazer 2002; Agius and Roberts 2003 ), may be seen. Their theorized function
23 involves phagocytosis and recycling of the sperm, a function shared by sertoli cells ( Grier and T aylor 1998; Blazer 2002). Quantifying Reproductive E ffort Accurate estimates of reproductive characteristics are integral components for assessments of changes in populations over time. Key characteristics include size/age at maturity, sex ratios, spawnin g seasons, spawning frequency, and batch fecundity (Collins et al. 1998). Many methods are employed to investigate these characteristics. Macroscopic and microscopic staging, oocyte counts and measurements, and gonadosomatic indices (GSI s ) provide inform ation regarding periodicity in gonad development spawning season, spawning frequency, and batch fecundity. Determining spawning season represents an important first step that can guide sampling to determine spawning frequency and batch fecundity. Gonadoso matic indices have been used in combination with other techniques to determine spawning season for a large number of fishes, e.g. cobia ( Rachycentron canadum Biesiot et al. 1994), red snapper ( Lutjanus campechanus Collins et al. 2001), red grouper ( Epinephelus morio Freitas et al. 2011) and greater amberjack ( Seriola dumerili Harris et al. 2007). In essence, GSI distinguishes allocation of energetic resources towards somatic growth and reproduction by quantifying variation in gonad size in relation to body size. As spawning approaches, resources are invested into gamete maturation resulting in increased gonad weight, which reaches an apex just prior to spawning ( Prez et al. 1992). After spawning, GSI decreases due to the loss of gametes (Biesiot et al. 1994; Collins et al. 2001). GSI is calculated by dividing the gonad weight by the somatic w eight with (Collins et al. 2001; Alejo Plata et al. 2011) or without (Taylor et al. 1998 ; McBride et al. 2002) the gonad weight and multiplying by 100. Thu s, GSI expresses
24 gonad weight as a percentage of body weight and normalizes gonad size to fish weight (DeVlaming et al. 1982). Although GSI has been used for both male and female fish, it is most effective for use in female fish due to the minimal variati on of testis weight throughout maturation and spawning (Alejo Plata et al. 2011). Estimates of b atch fecundity and spawning frequency aid in understanding temporal and spatial patterns in fish reproduction that drive population dynamics. Batch fecundity c onstitutes the total number of hydrated oocytes released per spawning event, and spawning frequency is the number of spawning events per unit time. Batch fecundity, when expressed as a linear or exponential relationship between number of eggs and somatic weight or length, describes relative fecundity ( Prez et al. 1992). These parameters can be incorporated into calculations of annual fecundity, spawning biomass, and egg production ( Hunter and Goldberg 1980; Ganias et al. 2011). Batch fecundity and spawn ing frequency can vary within and between years (McBride et al. 2002) with such variation exacerbated for fish that spawn multiple times during a long spawning season (Macchi 1998). Such variation emphasizes the importance of carefully designed studies (St ratoudakis et al. 2006). The postovulatory follicle method estimates spawning frequency As an egg undergoes ovulation into the ovarian lumen in preparation for spawning, it sloughs off the follicle complex, i.e. the associated follicle cells, basement m embrane and thecal cells (Grier 2000). Persistence of this complex can indicate a recent spawning event. Sampling fish over a 24 h period can validate diel spawning patterns and the rate at which the postovulatory complex (POC) degrades (Ganias et al. 20 03). After validation, subsequent fish can be categorized according to the number of days since spawning.
25 should still be measured for fish from a new geographic range (Stratoudakis et al. 2006). For example, POC persistence for Atlantic menhaden spawned in the laboratory varied from 36 to 60 h across a 5 C temperature differential (Fitzhugh and Hettler 1995). Once fish are categorized according to days since spawning, spawning fraction the proportion of individuals spawning per night, can be averaged across each category (e.g., average incidence across day 1 and day 2, Macchi 1998 ; Ganias et al. 2003 ) or calculated for a single category (e.g., incidence of only day 2, Hunter and Goldberg 1980). Spawning frequency is then calculated as the reciprocal of spawning fraction Morris (2009) attempted to apply the postovulatory follicle method to lionfish, and he determined that is was unreliable, possibly due to rapid abs orption of the POC. Although the method has been applied to over 50 species, it is time intensive, relies on experienced readers with access to a well developed staging model, and requires expensive histological analyses ( i.e. plastic embedding rather tha n paraffin embedding, Ganias 2011). An alternative approach involves identifying mature oocytes, and this method has been employed to determine spawning frequency for many fish ( e.g. silver pomfret, Pampus argenteus Almatar et al. 2004; red snapper Lutjanus campechanus Collins et al. 2001; red drum Sciaenops ocellatus in combination with POF method, Wilson and Nieland 1994). For the mature oocyte method, gross anatomical features that categorize gonads as hydrated must be confirmed. Then, fish ar e collected over multiple days, within hours of spawning, and females with hydrated oocytes, whose spawning is considered imminent, are counted. The number of females ready to spawn
26 divided by the total number of reproductively active females gives the fr action of fish spawning per day. Then, just as with the postovulatory follicle method, s pawning frequency is calculated as the reciprocal of this spawning fraction (Hunter and Macewicz 1985). Comparisons between the hydrated oocyte method and the POF meth ods have yielded agreement (Macchi 1998; McBride et al. 2002) and disagreement (Alheit 1985; Quintanilla and Prez 2000; Ganias et al. 2003). In studies where the two methods disagree, sampling bias due to differential vulnerability to capture for spawnin g and non spawning females has been implicated as a potential problem (Alheit 1985; Quintanilla and Prez 2000; Ganias et al. 2003) Alheit (1985) discussed such biases associated with sampling pelagic planktivores with midwater trawl gear. The females s pawned in synchronous groups resulting in a higher vulnerability to capture in the trawl gear and an overestimation of spawning frequency (Alheit 1985). A narrow window for effective sampling of pre spawn fish is another disadvantage of the mature oocyte method. For example, crepuscular spawners must be sampled within hours of dusk. In addition, s pawning frequencies can depend on both fish size (sardine Sardina pilchardus sardine, Ganias 2003 ) and body condition (anchovy Engaulis encrasicolus Somarakis 1999). When comparing spawning frequencies among populations, these factors should be considered (Ganias 2003). Estimates of batch fecundity for fish that spawn multiple times and exhibit indeterminate fecundity are often generated from counts of hydrated oocytes in subsamples of ovaries from fish that are ready to spawn ( Hunter and Macewicz 1985; Barbieri et al. 1994; Wilson and Nieland 1994; S tratoudakis et al. 2006 ). Counts can be
27 performed either visually with a stereoscope or with the assistance of s oftware that displays and processes images captured with the stereoscope. Counting eggs with the stereoscope alone is the most inefficient and least accurate method, and counting eggs in an image using software can be the most efficient and accurate with smaller sample sizes (Ganias et al. 2008). For large sample sizes, automatic counts done by the software are the most efficient and accurate. Using software to count eggs involves creating a macro specific to each species, which must then be validated (Gan ias et al. 2008). Ultimately, counts of subsampled ovarian tissue can then be related to the total number of eggs in an ovary either gravimetrically or volumetrically (Hunter and Macewicz 1985). Volumetric rather than gravimetric procedures have been app lied to determine batch fecundity of lionfish (Morris 2009). Lionfish Reproduction Ovary Morphology and Spawning Behavior Two main types of gonad structure in female fish are gymnovarian and cystovarian ovaries. In the gymnovarian ovary, present in more a ncient fish, eggs are located on the outer surface of the ovary. In teleosts, the cystovarian ovary is most prevalent. An enclosed central lumen exists lined by germinal epithelium (McMillan 2007). Lionfish possess a bilobed, cystovarian type II 3 ovary. Blood vessels enter and exit the ovary anteriorly and run longitudinally through the center. An ovarian stroma exists in the center. The ovary is specialized for the formation of a hollow, gelatinous egg mass (Koya and Muoz 2007). Specialized cells lining the interior of the ovarian wall secrete an egg mass. The attachment of the stroma to the ovary only exists at the anterior end of the ovary. This allows for the egg mass to easily detach from each
28 ovary during spawning. One egg mass is created f rom each ovary which, prior to spawning, detaches from each ovary separately. The egg mass has a hollow center which is hypothesized to increase fertilization success (Morris et al. 2011). Lionfish possess peduncles, or specialized structures that aid in oocyte development. Peduncles protrude from the ovarian stroma and connect to oocytes (Erikson and Pikitch 1993). They are predominately connective tissue but include centrally arranged vasculature providing both physical a nd nutritive support (Hoar 1969 ; Fishelson 1978). The oocyte begins development in the germinal epithelium but migrates peripherally as the peduncle increases in length and the oocyte matures (Morris et al. 2011). At ovulation, the peripheral placement of mature oocytes aids in the fo rmation and dispersal of the gelatinous egg mass (Erikson and Pikitch 1993). Fishelson (1975) described courtship behavior of P volitans in the Red Sea. Following a behavioral pattern shared by many reef fish (Ferraro 1980), courtship began shortly after sundown. Lionfish were seen in aggregations of 3 to 8 for only short periods of time; otherwise, lionfish were primarily solitary. The males were observed leading females to the surface. Each female then released a floating egg mass allowing males to f ertilize the eggs (Fishelson 1975). Ahrenholz and Morris ( 2010 ) estimated the larval period of lionfish to be 20 to 35 d Spawning Frequency, Batch Fecundity, Maturation Lionfish collected from the western Atlantic have a long spawning season, high spawning frequency and early onset of maturation (Morris 2009). P terois volitans comprises the majority of the lionfish in the western Atlantic (Darling et al. 2011) although n o significant differences exists between the reproductive characteristics of this species and those of P miles (Morris et al. 2011). Morris et al. (2011) first
29 described oogenesis in detail, including asynchronous oocyte development and indeterminate fec undity. Morris (2009) determined that lionfish spawn year round with mature females spawn ing on average every 3.6 d in the Bahamas and 4.1 d in North Carolina. Lionfish were collected off North Carolina and held in the lab to assess batch fecundity (Mor ris 2009). Although the sample size was small, batch fecundity was estimated at 24,630 eggs per spawn. Extrapolated to yearly egg output, each female fish has the potential to release 2 3 million eggs. Length at 50% maturity was 175 mm TL for females an d 100 mm for males collected from North Carolina, th e Bahamas, and the Philippines (Morris 2009). Summary Lionfish have become established in the western Atlantic, and their range continues to expand. They have invaded a wide range of habitats, and negative impacts to reef communities have been documented. Further investigation into reproduction could lead to greater insights into how to address this invasion. There are many methods in the study of fish reproduction, and protocols must be chosen wit h due acknowledgments of tradeoffs between resources available and desired outcomes. Goals for reproductive studies can be varied; however, for a harmful species rapidly spreading, goals can include 1) understanding the role of reproductive characteristic s and fecundity in the rapid spread and establishment of an invasive species and 2) quantifying inputs to population dynamics models, especially reproductive parameters, to predict responses to management actions. Outcomes from either goal will aid in eva luating removal techniques, and resource managers can use this knowledge to guide attempts to reduce the negative impacts of the lionfish invasion.
30 CHAPTER 2 LIONFISH GONAD DEVELOPMENT, SPAWNING SEASON, SPAWNING FREQUENCY AND BATCH FECUNDITY Introd uction Threats to coral reefs worldwide include global warming, overfishing, habitat destruction, and coastal pollution. Recently, invasive spe cies can be added to this list. Indo Pacific lionfish ( Pterois volitans and Pterois miles ) were first observed in the western Atlantic off Florida in 1985 (Morris and Akins 2009) and they have since spread north to Rhode Island, east to Bermuda, and south to Venezuela (USGS NAS 2012). Lionfish continue to expand, and they have most recently been sighted in Martin ique, Venezuela, and the northern Gulf of Mexico (USGS NAS 2012). The western Atlantic is not the first case of lionfish invasion. In 1992, P. miles were first documented in the Mediterranean. Although Lessepsian migration is the accepted vector for thi s invasion (Golani and Sonin 1992), aquarium release is currently considered the primary vector for the introduction of lionfish in the western Atlantic ( Whitfield et al. 2002 ; Semmens et al. 2004 ). Pterois volitans and Pterois miles are native to the Paci fic and Indian Oceans, respectively (Kulbicki et al. 2012). These two species, however, are closely related (Kochizus et al. 2003) and commonly referred to as the Pterois volitans/miles complex (Hare and Whitfield 2003; Kimball et al. 2004), or simply lio nfish. In their invaded range, lionfish densities are often significantly higher than those recorded in their native range (Kimball et al. 2004) They have invaded all major environments including seagrasses, mangroves, and reefs (Barbour et al. 2010; Bigg s and Olden 2011). In addition, field studies in the Bahamas have shown that lionfish reduce recruitment of native reef fish by an average of 79% (Albins and Hixon 2008)
31 and cause a shift from coral and sponge communities to algal dominated communities (L esser and Slattery 2011) Despite these potentially devastating effects, information on key life history characteristics for this species is sparse. Quantitative analyse s of lionfish reproductive characteristics are critical to understand ing the invasive n ature of the species, the potential for further spread and establishment, and for the efficacy of management responses The overall objective of this study is to quantify reproductive characteristics of lionfish in the Western Caribbean. Specific objectiv es include calculation of GSIs and application of histological and visual staging of gonads to quantify 1) spawning season, 2) pe riodicity in gonad development, 3) spawning frequency 4) batch fecundity and 5) female size at maturity. Methods Field Collect ions Lionfish were caught from the waters surrounding Little Cayman by licensed divers and trained volunteers. In an attempt to reduce the negative effects of lionfish, culls are organized through cooperation between the Cayman Islands Department of the E nvironment, Central Caribbean Marine Institute, and local dive resorts. The Department of Environment issues licenses for pole spears. The Central Caribbean Marine Institute organizes culls, primarily weekly but sometimes more frequently. Dive resorts d onate boat time and staff, and they allow the fish to be used for research. Fish from the organized culls were caught with open circuit equipment between 17:00 and 19:00 from February 2011 to August 2012. During this time, lionfish are particularly vulne rable to capture because they feed and spawn (Green et al. 2011; Kulbicki et al. 2012). After capture, the fish were transported to a laboratory where they were stored in a refrigerator or on ice.
32 Lionfish were processed the next morning. The total lengt h of each fish was measured to the nearest mm and weighed to the nearest 0.1 g. From October 2011 to August 2012, ovaries were staged macroscopically. Ovaries and testes were removed, weighed to the nearest 0.0001 g, and preserved in 10% neutral buffered formalin. Gonadosomatic Indices Gonadosomatic indices (GSIs) were calculated separately for males and females by dividing gonad weight by total body weight. The sex specific GSI was determined as: GSI = (W G / W T ) 100 where: GSI is the gonadosomatic ind ex, W G is the gonad wet weight and W T is the total wet weight. Variation in GSIs among months was examined with a one way analysis of variance (ANOVA) on arcsine square root transformed data. Monthly mean GSI values indicate the relative investment of en ergy in reproduction, and along with visual staging and records of hydrated oocytes, GSI was used to determine spawning season, i.e., months with high GSI indicate months in which spawning is occurring. Water temperatures may represent a cue for reproduct ive investment; therefore, mean water temperature for each month was obtained from the Integrated Coral Observing Network (ICON) weather station that records water temperature at 4.6 m Visual Staging Ovaries were staged according to macroscopic characteri stics, which included the presence or absence of visible oocytes and formation of an egg mass. The stages were 1) immature, 2) developing, 3) ripe and 4) spent (Table 2 1, Figure 2 1). This classification scheme was adapted from Everson et al. (1989).
33 Hi stological Staging After preservation, ovaries and testes were prepared for histological processing. Transverse and longitudinal sections of gonad tissue were placed in separate plastic cassettes. Next, the tissue was dehydrated with a series of alcohol treatments, embedded in paraffin, and sectioned on a microtome. Sections were stained with hematoxylin and eosin and mounted on slides. In each month, gonads were subsampled with a goal of 12 gonads per month. To perf o rm subsampling, the gonads were sorted by increasing total gonad weight for testes and GSI for ovaries. Then, a subsample was chosen that was representative for that month. For example, after the gonads were sorted, every 3 rd sample was selected if there were 36 total gonads. Actual s ubsamples ranged from 7 14. Next, gonads were staged by applying the criteria of Grier et al. (2009) and Grier and Taylor (1998) to histological sections (Table 2 2 and 2 3, Figure 2 2 and 2 3). Female fi sh were staged based on the germ cell in the most advanced stage. Although the staging scheme differentiated early (eccentric germinal vesicle and migration of germinal vesicle) and late (germinal vesicle breakdown and full hydration) oocyte maturation, fish in both stages were considered actively spawni ng. In combination with GSI and visual staging, these results indicated spawning season. In addition, the results of microscopic staging were used to validate or invalidate visual staging (Scott et al. 1993). Oocyte Measurements Oocyte measurements were adapted from Macchi (1998) to describe change in oocyte size through development. Photographs of histologically prepared slides were imported into i Solution tm software and five fields of view were haphazardly chosen. Magnification ranged from 10x to 40x For each field of view, oocytes chosen for
34 measurement were identified by stage (primary growth stage, secondary growth stage, oocyte maturation stage) and measured along the longest axis that passed through their germinal vesicles to ensure measurement s accurately represented diameters. Oocyte measurements were log 10 transformed, and differences in diameter between stages, fish and fields of view were evaluated with a fully nested analysis of variance. Spawning Frequency Spawning frequency was determin ed from fish collected by volunteers between 18:30 and 19: 15 from 7 to 16 May 2012 (9 d total, 13 May excluded). A different site was sampled each day. During this time, water temperature ranged from 26 to 27 C. After capture, the fish were transported to a laboratory where they were stored on ice. Processing occurred the same night of capture, and all fish were processed approximately 6 h post capture. The total length of each fish was m easured to the nearest mm, and weighed to the nearest 0.1 g. Ova ries were staged macroscopically, removed, weighed to the nearest 0.0001 g, and preserved in 10% neutral buffered formalin. In preserved ovaries, hydrated oocytes can be identified because they appear cloudy Spawning fraction was determined through the m ature oocyte method (Hunter and Macewicz 1985; Morris 2009; McBride et al. 2012) as: S = N H / N M where: S is spawning fraction, N H is the number of fish with hydrated oocytes and N M is the number of mature females. Spawning frequency was then calculated from spawning fraction as: F = ( S ) 1
35 where: F is the spawning frequency in days and S is spawning fraction. Batch Fecundity Batch fecundity was determined through subsampling of ovar ies, enumeration of hydrated oocytes, and volumetric scaling to whole egg masses (Karlou Riga and Economidis 1997; Morris 2009). Lionfish were collected from the field in October, November and December 2011 (winter sampling, n = 9) and May 2012 (spring sa mpling, n = 12). After preservation, the ovary was agitated with a stir bar and broken apart with forceps. Connective tissue was removed. The volume of the remaining sample was measured before three, 1 m L subsamples were withdrawn using a Hensen Stempel pipette. A photograph of each subsample was taken at 10x magnification using a dissecting stereoscope. Hydrated eggs appeared clear when subjected to transmitted light (Karlou Riga and Economidis 1997; McBride et al. 2002), and they were enumerated with ( http://rsbweb.nih.gov/ij/ Ganias et al. 2008). Counts from subsamples were scaled to estimate total batch fecundity as: N T = 2 ((N s V T ) / V S ) where: N T is total batch fecundity, N s is the oocyte count in the subsamples, V T is volume of material from one ovary, and V S is the volume subsampled. For four fish, batch fecundity was estimated independently from both ovaries as a means of evaluating the accur acy of estimates based on counts from a single ovary. Differences in batch fecundity between the two sampling periods were evaluated with two analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) using either total length or total weight as a covariate, and batch fecundities w ere regressed against total lengths and weights.
36 Female Size at Maturity Average female size at maturity was estimated by two methods. The first method estimated size at maturity as the total length at which egg production was theoretically zero, which wa s determined from the linear regression of batch fecundities against total lengths (McBride et al. 2002). Using records from different fish, the second method estimated size at maturity from histological and macroscopic staging. For histologically staged fish, mature fish were those with oocytes in the secondary growth, maturation or hydrated stages. For visually staged fish, mature fish were those with developing, ripe, or spent ovaries. Immature fish were assigned a 0 while mature fish assigned 1. A logistic function was then fit to the binomial distribution of the maturation data to estimate a length at 50% maturity. A two parameter model was fit to the resulting equation: P(mat) = 1 / (1+e ((TL L 50 mat )/sigma) ) where: P(mat) is the probability of mat urity, TL is total length, L 50 mat is length at 50% maturity, and sigma is the steepness of the logistic curve. The parameters were estimated by maximizing the negative log likelihood function in R software version 2.12.1. Results Gonadosomatic Index Gonad osomatic indices were calculated for 840 females and 1032 males captured between February 2011 to August 2012. GSI varied significantly by month for both females (Table 2 4) and males (Table 2 5). Back transformed mean female GSI [95% confidence limits] ranged from 1.96 [1.82, 2.10] to 6.19 [5.97, 6.42], while back
37 transformed mean male GSI ranged from 0.0301 [0.0291, 0.0312] to 0.0564 [0.0522, 0.0608]. Within the two years, mean GSI values reach ed relatively distinct maxima and minima for both females an d males (Figures 2 4 and 2 5). In 2011, mean female GSI peaked in March (4.70 [4.36, 5.05]) and August (4.47 [4.26, 4.68]). Corresponding peaks were noticeable in male GSI in February (0.0473 [0.0457, 0.0489]), and September (0.0564 [0.0522, 0.0608]) to O ctober (0.0497 [0.0475, 0.0520]). In 2012, female GSI peaked in April (6.19 [5.97, 6.42]) and August (5.79 [5.43, 6.16]). For males, corresponding peaks occurred in April (0.0600 [0.0592, 0.0608]) and August ( 0.0513 [ 0.0502, 0.0525 ]) Throughout the res t of the year, mean GSI remained greater than 1.95 for females and 0.029 for males. Maximum GSI values were recorded at times when water temperatures approached annual minimum and maximum values (Figures 2 4 and 2 5). Thus, lionfish were prepared to spaw n at stable high or low temperatures. Visual Staging Comparisons of visual and histological staging from 39 female fish validated visual staging. Accuracies for immature, developing, and ripe females were 89% (8/9), 84% (22/26) and 75% (3/4), respectively Overall, visual staging was highly reliable for determining whether or not a female fish was mature (immature vs. developing or ripe, 97%). In total, 593 female fish were staged visually from October 2011 to August 2012 (Figure 2 6). The majority of al l fish were de veloping (50%) followed by ripe (42%), immature (7% ) and spent (1%). Prevalence of immature fish throughout the year ranged from 0% in March and June 2012 to 31% in November 2011. Prevalence of
38 developing fish ranged from 31% in August 2012 to 64% in October 2011. Prevalence of ripe fish ranged from 27% in October 2011 to 58% in August 2012. Spent fish were least abundant, occurring in December 2011 (5%) and May (1%), July (4%), and August (4%) of 2012. Histological Staging Histological st aging was performed on 121 ovaries and 124 testes collected from January to December 2011. A total of 14 ovaries and 12 testes from 2012 also were included to supplement low sample sizes from January and February for females and January and April for male s. Fish from October, November, and December ( n = 2, 3 and 4, respectively) were used for batch fecundity analyses, and they were included in analyses as fish in late oocyte maturation because they had fully hydrated oocytes. The majority of female fish w ere in secondary growth (42%), followed by late oocyte maturation (28%), primary growth (20%), and early oocyte maturation (10% Figure 2 7). Prevalence of primary growth ranged from 0% in January, March, August, and September to 50% in December. The percentage of fish exhibiting secondary growth had the highest variation, ranging from 17% in April to 82% in October. Early oocyte maturation had the lowest variation, and this stage was observed in 0% of females in May, August, September, October, November, and December and 40% of females in March. The occurrence of late oocyte maturation ranged from 8% of females in May to 57% in August. Postovulatory complexes, evidence of follicle atresia, were present in 13 (10%) of the histologically staged fish in the months of January, February, April, June, July, August, September. The POCs were observed only in fish in late oocyte maturation or
39 fish in which spawning was imminent. Oocyte atresia was observed in less than 5% of all fish. The majority of male fish were in mid germinal epithelium (GE) development ( 75% ), followed by early GE d evelopment ( 10% ), late GE development ( 9% ), and regressed ( 6% Figure 2 8) Fish in the regression class were not observed In males, the ranges for prevalence of regressed, early, mid, and late germinal epithelium (GE) development were 25%, 27%, 62%, an d 31% The regressed class was observed in 0% of fish in January, May, June, August, September November and December and 25% in February. The early GE development class was observed in 0% of males in March, June, July, August, November and December and 2 7% in January. Mid GE development, the most common class observed, was recorded for 38% of males in April and 100% of males in June. Late GE development was observed in 0% of fish in May, June, August, September and December and 31% in April. Intersexual ity was documented in testis tissue (Figure 2 9). Primary oocytes in the perinucleolar step of the primary growth stage occurred in 12 fish out of 124 ( ~ 10%). These lionfish were captured in January, February, March, April, September, October, and Novemb er. These male fish were in early (2) and m id (10) GE development. Oocyte Measurements Oocyte diameters were significantly different among stages (Table 2 6, Figure 2 1 0). This result is robust because it accounts for significant variation in oocyte diam eters among fields of view (Table 2 6). No significant differences were detected among oocyte diameters for fish within a given stage (Table 2 6).
40 Spawning F requency Spawning fraction was estimated with 109 mature fish ( i.e developing or ripe) ranging f rom 186 to 372 mm total length and 73.6 to 721.6 g wet weight. Of these mature fish, 45 had hydrated oocytes; therefore, the overall spawning fraction was 0.41 resulting in a spawning frequency of 2.42 d. Daily spawning fractions were highly variable, ra nging from 0.00 to 0.57 (Table 2 7). Batch Fecundity For two fish from the winter and two fish from the summer sampling periods, batch fecundity was estimated independently for each ovary. Coefficients of variation (CV s ) ranged from 1.0 to 11.3 (Table 2 8 ). Since these values were well below 20, an acceptable cutoff for CV, the remaining counts were performed on only one ovary. The means of the two estimates of batch fecundity for these four fish were incorporated into further analyses. Total batch fecun dity ranged from 1800 to 41945 eggs, for fish ranging from 204 to 332 mm total length and 103.2 to 460.4 g total wet weight ( n = 19). One outlier was so data were log 10 transformed. Batch fecundity increased significantly with total length and total weight, but season had no significant effect in either case (Table 2 9 and 2 10, Figures 2 11, 2 12 and 2 13). The latter result may be due to the relatively small sample si zes for the two periods. Female Size at Maturity Size at maturity for females was estimated from a regression applied to batch fecundities versus total lengths and from a logistic function fit to data from visual and histological staging. The size at matur ity from the theoretical zero egg production was
41 189 mm TL. From the logistic function fit to the maturity data, the length at 50% maturity was 190 [184,197] mm TL and the sigma was 13.1. Discussion The results of this study yielded four key insights into reproduction of invasive lionfish off Little Cayman Island. Lionfish matured when they were 189 190 mm in total length according to estimates based on a regression of fecundity on total length and a logistic function fit to maturity data from visual and h istological staging. After maturation, lionfish appeared to reproduce year round as shown by GSI values, staging of gonads, presence of hydrated oocytes, and infrequent observations of oocyte atresia. The proportion of females containing hydrated oocytes a lso indicated that, once mature, lionfish may spawn as frequently as every 2 3 d. Females preparing to spawn appeared capable of releasing 1800 41945 eggs, with larger numbers of eggs released by larger females. As oocytes matured, their diameters increas In this study, lengths at 50% maturity were 14 and 15 mm longer than lionfish studied by Morris (2009). He estimated length at 50% maturity as 175 mm for females and su ggested an age at maturity of less than one year of age for fish collected from the Bahamas, North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Philippines. From age data gathered in a parallel study at Little Cayman Island, fish of 190 mm TL were between 0 and 2 yea rs old ( Edwards 2012 McBride et al. (2012) suggested that latitudinal and regional differences could result in different values for average length at maturity and other reproductive parameters. Reg ardless, such relatively small differences may not be biologically significant, especially for lionfish and other species that mature early (McBride et al. 2012).
42 When compared to temperate species, lionfish and other tropical fish species have extended sp awning seasons (Danilowicz 1995). Although spawning occurred year round, reproductive effort did vary within each year of sampling. Within years, male and female reproductive efforts were synchronized, and effort was highest during periods of relatively hi gh and low temperatures. Given that reproductive effort was high at times of both minimum and maximum water temperatures (August October and January March), this study suggested that temperature extremes in the western Caribbean did not limit lionfish repr oduction. Since lionfish occur over much of the equatorial Indo Pacific (Kulbicki et al. 2012), reproductive data from the native range may provide estimates of maximum thermal limits to spawning. Data from a complementary study indicated that lionfish in creased feeding when they were reproducing because the mean weights of lionfish stomach contents were highest in the month s of December and September ( Edwards 2012). Although food availability and water temperature represent key cues for spawning, it is l ikely that photoperiod, tidal cycle, and moon phase also affect fish spawning cycles ( Taylor 1984 ; Sala et al. 2003 ; Heyman et al. 2005 ). Ultimately, evolutionary consequences from reproduction are likely to generate spawning cycles that optimize adult fit ness, larval survival, and recruitment success ( Robertson 1990 ). The yellow snapper, Lutjanus argentiventris followed a similar pattern of high reproductive effort in times of both minimum (20C) and maximum (30C) water temperatures Food availability w as proposed as a possible explanation for this spawning pattern, but other environmental parameters were not addressed in the study (Pin et al. 2009 )
43 Postovulatory complexes (POCs) were found in low abundance and only in fish with hydrated oocytes. All sampling was constrained to the late afternoon, in advance of presumed nocturnal spawning; therefore, the presence of POCs indicated that fish were spawning the night of capture and currently undergoing ovulation. Hydrated oocytes are ovulated into the gel atinous matrix of the egg mass in preparation for spawning, leaving behind the POCs prior to the spawning event (Morris et al. 2011). POCs were not observed in lionfish with oocytes undergoing secondary growth. Because POCs were only observed in fish that were ripe and presumed spawning that night, postovulatory complexes probably persist for less than 12 h in lionfish from the western Caribbean. This could be due to either rapid reabsorption of POCs within the ovary or POCs may be carried away as the egg mass is spawned. A lthough POC reabsorption is primarily a temperature dependent process ( Hunter and Macewicz 1985; Fitzhugh and Hettler 1995), there are no other studies that provide further insight into the impact that spawning an egg mass has on POC pe rsistence. This is the first study documenting intersexuality for lio nfish. Oocytes within testes tissue were not a common occurrence, and they had not developed beyond the perinucleolar stage of primary growth. T hus, lionfish may be classified as non functional hermaphrodites. No testes tissue was observed in female fish. Based on current findings, it is accurate to classify lionfish as gonochoristic because the distinction between gonochoristic and hermaphroditic is based on function rather than morphology (Sadovy de Mitcheson and Liu 2008). Phylogenetic relationships within Scorpaeniformes have been explored with both molecular and morphological data (Shinohara and Imamura 2007). Important
44 characteristics include ovarian morphology and developme nt (Koya and Muoz 2 007). Functional hermaphroditism has been documented in two other families of the Scorpaeniform order: Caracanthidae (or bicular velvetfishes, Cole 2003; Wong 2005) and Platycephalidae (flatheads, Shinomiya 2003). Intersexuality in lio nfish is consistent with hypotheses that Carancanthidae (Cole 2003; Shinohara and Imamura 2007) and Platycephalidae (Cole 2003) are more closely related to Scorpaenidae than previously suggested. Estimates of spawning frequency reported here were represent ative of lionfish spawning on shallow reefs (~30 m or less) around Little Cayman Island. Yoneda et al. (2000) spawned a closely related scorpaenid, Scorpaenodes littoralis in the lab. The ovarian structures of S. littoralis and Pterois spp. are similar a nd both create a gelatinous egg mass. Under ideal conditions, S littoralis spawned every 2 d over 4 8 months, with one fish spawning 118 times in 8 months, to yield a spawning frequency of ~2 d (Yoneda et al. 2000). Thus, it is reasonable to assume that l ionfish too have the physiological and behavioral capacity to spawn every 2 3 d This study documented high daily variation in spawning fraction. The biorhythm hypothesis ( Hunter and Lo 1997 ) suggests that individual spawning fraction is relatively stable with stable population and environmental parameters, and that changes to population level spawning frequency are the result of altered parameters (e.g., higher sp awning frequency with increased food availability, Somarakis 1999 ; or increased spawning frac tion with fish size, Ganias et al. 2003). Variation on larger time scales has been reported (Macewicz & Hunter 1993), and data collected here suggest broader scale temporal variability in spawning frequency of lionfish. Spawning frequency was
45 high in May 2012 and GSI values also were relatively high. At times of the year when mean GSI values were lower, population spawning frequency may have been lower. Future studies should document spawning frequency in month s when mean GSI values are low. Estimates of batch fecundity for lionfish were similar to estimates for a related and smaller scorpionfish, Scorpaena notata ( Muoz et al. 2005) Both fish possess a cystovarian type II 3 ovary specialized to produce a gelatinous egg mass. B atch fecundity estimates of 1800 41945 eggs for lionfish were derived from females that were 204 332 mm TL. B atch fecundity of the small red scorpionfish ranged from 6000 33000 eggs for individuals from 94 152 mm standard length ( Muoz et al. 2005 ). Muoz et al. (2005) suggested that batch fecundity of scorpaenids w ith gelatinous egg masses tend to be relatively low when compared to other oviparous fish in the scorpaeniform order (up to 108000 for Trigla lyra Muoz 2001 ; up to 87000 for Helicolenus dactyl opterus Muoz and Casadevall 2002 ). In addition, batch fecundity for old, large bodied reef fish in the western Atlantic can be more than an order of magnitude greater than the estimates for lionfish (e.g., up to 865,295 eggs per spawning event for gag gr ouper Mycteroperca microlepis Collins et al. 1998; 2.3 million eggs for red grouper Epinephelus morio Collins et al. 2002; and 3.4 million eggs for red snapper Lutjanus campechanus Collins et al. 2001). Low batch fecundities for fish forming egg masses may be related to higher fertilization success for eggs held together in a gelatinous matrix (Erikson and Pikitch 1993). For lionfish off little Cayman Island, mean batch fecundity was higher in the summer than in the winter, but no statistically signific ant difference was detected. The inability to detect significant
46 differences in egg production could be an artifact of low sample size; therefore, further sampling is recommended. M odels attempt ing to quantitatively assess population dynamics are improved when accurate estimates of life history parameters are available. To date, two studies have used modeling to predict responses of lionfish populations to removals (Barbour et al. 2011; Morris et al. 2011). Both of these studies relied on parameter values t hat were not specific to lionfish in the Caribbean. The results of this study could be incorporated into future models to improve the reliability and robustness of their outputs.
47 Table 2 1. Maturity classes for visually staged fish, adapted from Everson et al. ( 1989 ). Maturation Sta tus Description Immature Ovaries small and pink, ovarian wall thin, no well developed blood vessels, no oocytes distinguishable Developing Ovary large, oocytes visible and tightly packed Ripe Gelatinous e gg mass formed, ovaries reach maximum size, blood vessels distinct, transparent oocytes seen dispersed throughout egg mass Spent S mall, darkened ovaries blood vessel developed Table 2 2. Maturity classes for histologically staged fish as per Grier et al. (2009) Oocyte Development Maturation Status Description Oogonial proliferation Immature G erm cell nests appear from mitotic divisions Chromatin nucle olus Immature L ittle cytoplasm, single nucleolus, follicle begins to form no basophilic ooplasm meiosis arrests at the end of the stage Primary growth Immature B asophilic ooplasm forms, folliculogenesis ends, multiple nucleoli, cortical alveoli present Secondary growth Developing Vitellogenin uptake i n to ooplasm, oil droplets appear, vit ellogenin metabolized to lipoprotein yolk, l arge increase in oocyte size due to yolk deposition, germinal vesicle centrally located Oocyte maturation, early Ripe O il droplets coalesce, germinal vesicle eccentric and d isplaced peripherally, yolk coalesces Oocyte maturation, late Ripe Y olk fuses, ooplasm transparent, large increase in diameter due to hydration, meiotic resumption occurs Ovulation Ripe Oocyte disconnects from the basement membrane, follicle cells, and germinal epithelium, becoming egg as it moves into the ovarian lumen
48 Table 2 3. Testes maturation classes for histologically staged male fish based on the status of the germinal epithelium (GE) and stages of germ cells present as per Grier and Taylor (1998) Maturation Class Description Regressed P rimary and secondary spermatogonia, continuous germinal epithelium along the entire length of lobule Early GE development S permatocy s ts form; continuous, active germinal epithelium Mid GE development S perm released from spermatocysts, discontinuous germinal epithelium beginning at proximal ends of lobule, continuous distally Late GE development P roximal ends of lobule filled with sperm, at least one lobule discontinuous at the terminus Regression F ew scattered spermatocysts, sperm fills lobule to termini Table 2 4. Analysis of variance for female GSI with the fixed factor month of capture. Results of Anderson homoscedasticity shown. Table 2 5. Analysis of variance for male GSI with the fixed factor month of capture. Results of Anderson homoscedasticity shown. Anderson Darling Cochran's Source df SS MS F P P = 0.055 P < 0.01 Month 18 0.0038 0.0002113 5.49 < 0.001 Error 1010 0.0389 0.0000385 Anderson Darling Source df SS MS F P P < 0.001 P > 0.05 Month 18 0.7352 0.0408 4.92 < 0.001 Error 816 6.7765 0.0083
49 Table 2 6. Analysis of variance for oocyte measurements. Factors include oocyte stage (primary growth, secondary growth, oocyte maturation), individual fish, and field of view (FOV) measured Results of Anderson Darling test for scedasticity shown. Anderson Darling Source df SS MS F P P < 0.005 P > 0.05 Stage 2 300. 3 4 150.17 106.91 < 0.001 Fish(Stage) 35 50.54 1.44 1.16 0.267 FOV(Stage Fish) 141 184.72 1.31 11.22 < 0.001 Error 3203 373. 9 1 0. 1 2 Table 2 7. Daily spawning fraction for fish from 7 through 16 May 2012 (13 May excluded). Date Mature Females (N M ) Females with Hydrated Oocytes (N S ) Spawning Fraction Spawning Frequency 7 4 1 0.25 4.00 8 16 4 0.25 4.00 9 14 5 0.36 2.80 10 3 1 0.33 3.00 11 11 6 0.55 1.83 12 13 5 0.38 2.60 14 30 17 0.57 1.76 15 11 6 0.55 1.83 16 7 0 0.00 Total 109 45 0.41 2.42
50 Table 2 8 Independently estimated batch fecundities from left and right ovaries. For these four fish, coefficients of variation are reported. CV = coefficient of variation. Fish Total Length (mm) Gonad Weight (g) Batch Fecundity CV Winter 1 263 17.4247 10776 9184 11.3 W inter 2 247 14.3881 12489 11506 5.8 S ummer 1 332 52.9509 24732 24378 1.0 Summer 2 284 32.7054 43296 40594 4.6 Table 2 9. Analysis of co variance for the effect of total length (TL) and sampling season on batch fecundity Results of Anderson Darling test for normality and Anderson Darling Source df SS MS F P P = 0.147 P > 0.05 TL (mm) 1 0.9961 1 .00 19.71 < 0.001 S eason 1 0.0858 0.09 1.7 0 0.21 0 Error 17 0.859 0 0.05 Table 2 10. Analysis of co variance for the effect of total weight (TW) and sampling season on batch fecundity Results of Anderson Darling test for normality and Anderson Darling Source df SS MS F P P = 0.397 P > 0.01 TW (g) 1 1.2549 1.25 35.54 < 0.001 Season 1 0.0013 0 .00 0.04 0.851 Error 17 0.6003 0.04
51 Figure 2 1. Three examples of the classes of visual stages. Ovary denoted by white arrow. A) Immature with no well developed blood vessels and no visible oocytes, B) developing with visible, tightly packed oocytes, and C) ripe with the gelatinous egg mass formed and eggs dispersed throughout egg mass. No picture is available for the spent stage Photos courtesy Patrick G. Gardner. A C B
52 Figure 2 2. Examples of three of the six histological stages, defined by the most advanced oocyte stages present. Primary growth at A) 10x and B) 40x, secondary growth at C) 4x and D) 20x, o ocyte maturation (early ) at E) 4x and F) 20x, oocyte maturation (late) at G) 4x and H) 20x. Scale bar in all images is 200 M. Photos courtesy Patrick G. Gardner. G H E C D F A B
53 Figure 2 3. Examples of the 4 cla sses of testis development. Regressed at A) 10x and B) 40x, e arly germinal epithelium (GE) development at C) 10x and D ) 40x, m id GE development at E) 10x and F) 40x, l ate GE development at G) 10x and H) 40x No fish in the regression class were observed. Scale bar in all images is 200 M. Photos courtesy Patrick G. Gardner A H G F E C D B A
54 Figure 2 4. M ean GSI +/ 95% CL for female fish (squares) from February 2011 to August 2012. Secondary vertical axis displays mean water temperature ( C) from 4.6 m depth (triangles). Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size.
55 Figure 2 5 Mean GSI +/ 95% CL for male fish (squares) from February 2011 to August 2012. Secondary vertical axis displays mean water temperature ( C) from 4.6 m depth (triangles). Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size.
56 Figure 2 6. Percentage of each female vi sual stage (immature, developing, ripe and spent) for each month from October 2011 to August 2012. Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size.
57 Figure 2 7. Percentage of female histological stage by month for January 2011 to December 2011. Fish from batch fecundity sampling from October, November, and December (n = 2, 3 and 4, respectively) were included as oocyte maturation (late) because they have hydrated oocytes. Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size.
58 Figure 2 8. Perce ntage of male histological stage by month for January 2011 to December 2011. Numbers above graph represent monthly sample size.
59 Figure 2 9. Example of observed male fish with primary oocytes within testis tissue at A) 10x and B) 40x. White arrows point to oocytes with clearly identified nuclei. Scale bar in both images is 200 M. Photos courtesy Patrick G. Gardner A B
60 Figure 2 10. Mean oocyte diameters (primary, secondary, and maturation oocytes) by stage (primary growth, seconda ry growth, maturation) prior to transformation. Error bars indicate standard error ( M)
61 Figure 2 11. Batch fecundity counts by total length (mm) for lionfish from summer (May 2012; squares) and winter (October, November, and December 2011; circles) seasons. Linear relationship s : summer, y = 306.3x 54572, R 2 = 0.799; winter, y = 101.81x 1 4074, R 2 = 0.323
62 Figure 2 12. Batch fecundity counts by total length (mm) for lionfish from summ er and winter combined. Linear relationship : y = 308.67x 58265, R 2 = 0.704.
63 Figure 2 13. Batch fecundity counts by total fish weight (g) for lionfi sh from summer and winter combined. Linear relationship : y = 114.77x 6009.4, R 2 = 0.703.
64 CHAPTER 3 CONCLUSION Lionfish have been present off Florida since 1985 (Morris and Akins 2009), and they are now established throughout the western Atlantic and broader Caribbean region (USGS NAS 2012). In the invaded range, li onfish densities are often significantly higher than those recorded in their native range Lionfish are present in all major habitats including seagrasses, mangroves, and reefs (Barbo ur et al. 2010; Biggs and Olden 2011; Claydon et al. 2012). In addition, field studies in the Bahamas have shown that lionfish reduce recruitment of native reef fish by an average of 79% (Albins and Hixon 2008). Lionfish also have been implicated as the cause of a shift from coral and sponge communities to algal dominated communities (Lesser and Slattery 2011). Despite these potentially devastating effects, information on key life history characteristics are lacking. Quantita tive analyse s of lionfish reproductive characteristics are critical to understand ing the invasive nature of the species, the potential for further spread and establishment, and responses of the population to management actions. Length at 50% maturity was e stimated at 189 and 190 from regression of fecundity on total length and a logistic function fit to maturity data from visual and histological staging, respectively. Although these estimates were longer than lionfish studied in more northern latitudes (Mo rris 2009), such relatively small differences may not be biologically significant for a species that matures early. Although spawning occurred year round, reproductive effort was temporally variable Within each year, reproductive efforts were synchronized between sexes during periods of both high and low seasonal temperatures Given that reproductive effort was high at times of both minimum and maximum water temperatures (August
65 October and January March), it is unlikely that temperature ex tremes in the w estern Caribbean limit lionfish reproduction. Data from a complementary study suggest lionfish increased feeding during periods of increased reproduction ( E dwards 2012 ). Although food availability and water temperature represent key cues for spawning, it is likely that other environmental characteristics, including photoperiod, tidal cycle, and moon phase, also affect spawning cycles ( Taylor 1984 ; Sala et al. 2003 ; Heyman et al. 2005 ). This is the first study documenting intersexuality for lion fish. Oocyte s within testes tissue were in low abundance, occurring in 10% of males processed for histology. This study suggested that lionfish are non functional hermaphrodites, and, therefore, gonochoristic. Evidence of intersexuality in lionfish also aids in unde rstanding phylogenetic relationships within the Scorpaeniformes order; Caracanthidae and Platycephalidae may be more closely related to Scorpaenidae than previously thought (Cole 2003; Shinohara and Imamura 2007). More research is needed to full understan d underlying physiological mechanisms and controls of oocyte development within testes tissue. The proportion of females containing hydrated oocytes also indicated that, once mature, lionfish may spawn every 2 3 d. Based on lab oratory studies of Scorpaenodes littoralis (Yoneda et al. 2000) a closely related species, lionfish likely have the physiological and behavioral capacity to spawn every 2 3 d Spawning frequency was high est in May 2012 and GSI values also were relatively high; therefore, the estimated spawning frequency from this study is likely to be a maximum for the western Atlantic and Caribbean region At times of the year when mean GSI values were lower, spawning freq uency may have been lower.
66 Lionfish batch fecundity of 1800 41945 eggs were derived from females that were 204 332 mm TL, and larger numbers of eggs were released by larger females. Estimates of batch fecundity for lionfish were similar to estimates for a related scorpaenid with similar ovarian morphology, while batch fecundities were less than half when compared to other scorpaenids ( Muoz 2001; M uoz and Casadevall 2002 ). Low batch fecundities may be explained by a higher fertilization success for eggs held together in a matrix upon spawning. Reproductive parameters estimated in this study could be incorporated into future models to improve the reliability and robustness of their outputs. Estimates of spawning stocks from models would provide insights into spatial and temporal changes in population dynamics associated with expansion, establishment, stabilization and management of lionfish populations. Resource managers can then use this information to guide removal attempts. Although total eradication is highly unlikely in the near future, research into long term impacts will be essential as we determine how lionfish will modify marine environments in the western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico
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76 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Patrick was bor n in Deerfield, Illinois and grew up there until the age of ten, when he moved to Apopka, Florida. He attended Bishop Moore Catholic High School in Orlando, Florida, graduating in 2005. Throughout his younger years, he was always interested in science, b ut high school gave him the opportunity to focus on science classes and become SCUBA certified. Patrick entered the marine science major at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. In addition to his studies, Patrick worked as both a teaching and resear ch assistant. While at Eckerd College, his love for marine science was cemented. He graduated with high honors in 2009. After graduation, Patrick entered the Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Program at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. This dynamic department enabled him to be involved in many research projects. He has become certified as both an AAUS scientific diver and recently as a divemaster.