Predicting development of American lobster (Homarus americanus) embryos from the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence

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University of New Brunswick


The timing of hatch of American lobster embryos affects the dispersal of larvae and hence connectivity among populations. Linear and exponential functions have been developed in the laboratory to predict embryo development in relation to temperature. In this study, 12 embryos from 12 females were sampled twice ≈ one month apart during the spring fishery at 13 sites in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, and their development status was assessed based on the size of their eye. Differences in average eye size between the first and second sample were taken as the “observed development”, which was compared to “predicted development” based on the functions and water temperature. The functions were unable to predict differences in development among the 13 sites, which could be due to sampling error, measurement error, and/or geographic variation in temperature-based embryonic development. This study suggests time-of-hatch predictions might be improved by assessing location-specific development rates.