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Growth of Juvenile Green Sea Urchins, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, Fed Formulated Feeds with Varying Protein Levels Compared with a Macroalgal Diet and a Commercial Abalone Feed

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  • Present address: 10 John Street, Apartment 212, Dundas, Ontario L9H 6J3, Canada.

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Abstract

The effects of varying protein and carbohydrate levels in prepared diets on the somatic growth of juvenile green sea urchins, Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis, were examined. Ten diets were tested on 600 hatchery reared urchins (mean start weight = 0.11 g) for 6 mo with three replicate groups per diet. Nine of the diets were prepared specifically for urchins and varied in protein (16–40% protein) and carbohydrate (29–49% carbohydrate) levels. The other two diets consisted of a commercially available abalone diet and the kelp, Saccharina latissima. Weight measurements were carried out at 6-wk intervals, and at the end of the study urchins were individually weighed and a subsample from each treatment was analyzed for gonad weight and color. End weights after 6 mo ranged from 2.56 g for urchins fed the abalone diet to 6.11 g for urchins fed one of the prepared diets. Most of the prepared feeds outperformed kelp, and significant differences in growth were detected between some of the diets. In general, diets with lower protein levels (16–22% protein) and higher carbohydrate levels (>40% carbohydrate) produced the fastest growth. However, further diet refinement and/or use of finishing diets may be necessary to optimize gonad quality.

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