Pristane is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon that is generated by copepods in marine ecosystems. Organisms that eat copepods do not readily metabolize pristane, which causes it to accumulate throughout the marine food web. Understanding how pristane affects marine fish is essential because pristane is often used as a bioindicator in lab studies and may be influencing results in those studies. Also, this hydrocarbon may significantly reduce growth of marine fish in the wild. A previous study indicated that pristane is an appetite suppressant and growth retardant in fish. However, the study implemented a feeding regime with unnaturally high levels of pristane. The objective of this study was to emulate natural levels of pristane in the diet fed to juvenile pink salmon. The salmon were separated into two treatments. Half were fed a diet spiked with 0.001% pristane and the other half were offered the same diet with no pristane supplement. Food consumption was measured daily. Changes in fish mass, fish length, assimilation efficiency, and pristane ingestion in the salmon tissue were analyzed. Average instantaneous growth and assimilation efficiency were found to be lower in the pristane-fed group when compared to the control group, which was consistent with the previous study. Ingestion rates of the pristane group were higher than those of the control group. However, there was no statistical difference between the two groups.


Aquaculture and Fisheries | Biodiversity | Bioinformatics | Biological Factors | Biology | Marine Biology


Bonita Nelson

Lab site

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Alaska Fisheries Science Center (NOAA AFSC)

Funding Acknowledgement

This material is based upon work supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0952013. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation or the National Science Foundation. This project has also been made possible with support of the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. The STAR program is administered by the Cal Poly Center for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Education (CESaME) on behalf of the California State University (CSU).



URL: https://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/star/133


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