Assessing the ability of the growing degree-day metric to explain variation in size-at-age and age at moult of lobsters and crabs

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Abstract

Environmental temperature directly controls the rate at which ectotherms grow and develop. The growing degree-day metric (GDD, °C·day) scales time by temperature to create a thermal time scale relevant to ectothermic organisms. Here we assess the ability of GDD to model size-at-age and duration-to-moult in 15 datasets (9 size-at-age, 6 duration-to-moult) comprising 7 species of lobsters and crabs. We applied generalized linear models to assess the ability of GDD vs. “calendar” time to explain growth and development observations within and across trials. Best-fit models included GDD with fewer parameters in 6 of 9 size-at-age and 5 of 6 duration-to-moult datasets and a better fit to the data in 6 of 9 size-at-age datasets. Our results show that the individual growth of lobster and crab species can be modelled using thermal time models. Such models can be used to identify thermal tolerance limits, predict growth under varying temperature conditions and disentangle temperature effects from those of other factors affecting individual growth and development, resulting in improved growth models for field conditions including fisheries management.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Volume79
Issue5
Pages (from-to)850-860
Number of pages11
ISSN0706-652X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2022

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