The condition at settlement of the western rock lobster pueruli presumably reflects both their energetic condition in reaching the near shore and subsequent recruitment into adult populations. In recruiting to the near shore the pueruli swim across the continental shelf where oceanographic conditions are complex and likely influence the success of recruitment. The results from the biochemical studies are interpreted in light of the oceanography off the coast of Western Australia. I investigated the nutritional condition of larval phyllosomata, post-larval puerulus and first instar post-pueruli juveniles of the spiny lobster, Panulirus cygnus, to determine energy use during the non-feeding transitional puerulus stage. Biochemical analyses of lipid, fatty acid (FA) and protein revealed that lipid, in particular phospholipids, is primarily used for energy during the nonfeeding puerulus stage. Monounsaturated FA showed the greatest decline with development, whereas the polyunsaturated FA showed a high degree of sparing, suggesting these FA are not used as a substrate for energy production. The knowledge gained on the biochemistry of energy use in P. cygnus was then used to investigate the spatial and temporal variability in the nutritional condition, in particular lipid condition, of puerulus collected at three near shore locations (Alkimos, Jurien Bay and Dongara) along the Western Australia coast, and one offshore location (Houtman Abrolhos Islands). The one offshore location was chosen as I hypothesised that arriving pueruli are likely to be in a better state of nutrition than those arriving at more coastal locations where the potential journey from offshore larval feeding grounds to the near shore is considerably greater. This element of my research showed lipid levels to be inversely related, generally, to shelf width but were variable, suggesting pueruli may travel complex trajectories to reach nearshore settlement. The lipid and FA composition of pueruli was also consistent with spatial and seasonal variation in Leeuwin Current and coastal productivity regimes.
|Qualification||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Publication status||Unpublished - 2010|