HCNSO Student Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date


Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology


Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

Bart Baca

Second Advisor

Larry E. Brand

Third Advisor

Curtis Burney


Chaetoceros muelleri, Isochrysis sp. and Nannochloropsis salina are commonly used to raise larval Pacific white shrimp, Litopenaeus vannamei. With the demand for shrimp increasing each year, it becomes more important to find more ways of raising shrimp on farms and thus lowering the pressure on wild stocks. The traditional larval feeding regimes consist of algal and animal food sources. The accepted animal food source is Artemia nauplii. Unfortunately, the use of Artemia is costly and increases the amount of bacterial pathogens found in shrimp. In addition, because Artemia cysts often become unavailable, it may become necessary to rely solely on algae cultures for shrimp larvae survival. Therefore, as the cost of Artemia increases and the availability decreases, it is important to explore new and more effective measures to raise popular mariculture species without the use of Artemia.

In this research, Litopenaeus vannamei larvae were grown entirely on single or multiple species of phytoplankton without the use of an animal food source. Surprisingly, the industry's accepted Isochrysis sp. (single culture) was not as productive as Chaetoceros muelleri (single culture). Mixed cultures of Chaetoceros muelleri and Isochrysis sp. produced the highest percentage of shrimp larvae surviving and entering the post-larval stages. Although the survival rates of larvae grown to postlarvae was lower and the total growout period for larvae grown to postlarval was increased to sixteen days when the Artemia was removed from the larvae's diet, there were several advantages. First, it is not necessary to add antibiotics in order to assure high production rates by suppressing Artemia-introduced pathogenic bacteria. Secondly, it eliminates the competition between the Artemia and shrimp nauplii for available phytoplankton. Thirdly, by eliminating the need for Artemia cysts to enter an aquaculture farm, it allows for zero-exchange farms to exist by having all feeds for nauplii to be grown on-site. Lastly, it reduces the pressure to farm large amounts of Artemia if the industry accepts protocols that do not require Artemia cysts.

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