The purpose of this work was to examine the effect of reduced feeding and constant temperature on cod otolith opacity. Three groups of juvenile cod were given restricted food rations at different times for 4 months, resulting in depressed somatic growth. Otolith opacity was measured on pictures of the otolith sections. The otolith carbonate deposited during the experimental period was generally opaque compared to the more translucent otolith material deposited prior to and after the experimental period, when the fish were kept in a pond and in sea-cages at higher temperatures. Large variations in otolith opacity were found between individual fish both within groups and between groups. In two of the three groups significantly more translucent otolith material was deposited in response to reduced feeding. Our results show that variations in feeding and hence fish growth resulted in variation in otolith opacity, but the effect was minor compared to that of variations in ambient temperature. The combined influence of these effects, which both act on fish metabolism, are most likely controlling the seasonal opacity changes observed in wild fish. Our results help explain the variations seen in fish at constant temperatures.
Høie, H., Folkvord, A., Mosegaard, H., Li, L., Worsøe Clausen, L., Norberg, B., & Geffen, A. J. (2008). Restricted fish feeding reduces cod otolith opacity. Journal of Applied Ichthyology, 24(2), 138-143. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1439-0426.2007.01014.x