Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Marine Affairs and Policy (Marine)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Daniel D. Benetti

Second Committee Member

Martin Grosell

Third Committee Member

John D. Stieglitz

Fourth Committee Member

Jorge A. Suarez


Mahi-mahi Coryphaena hippurus, a high performance pelagic species, is a promising species for aquaculture development and has been used as a model species for oil toxicology and physiology studies. This species has one of the fastest growth rates of any marine teleost and a unique reproductive biology due to the species high spawning frequency and energy allocation into spawning events. These characteristics lend the species to being an excellent model for understanding broodstock nutrition for other high energetic pelagic species in captivity. The reproductive performance of wild-caught mahi-mahi was investigated in this study. Egg morphometries and larval survival were tracked in captivity over time for a 10-week period from the initial capture of the broodstock. Larval quality from subsequent spawns collected over time was quantified using larval survival activity indices (SAIs) which is a metric to assess egg quality. Larval SAIs were maintained and did not significantly decrease (p < 0.05) over the time course of this study. A multiple linear regression model based on the elapsed time in captivity of the broodstock, egg diameter, larval SAI at1 dph provided the most accurate prediction of larval SAI at 3 dph (R2 = 0.996 p < 0.05) when the larvae began exogeneous feeding. There were strong positive correlations with larval SAIs and the key nutrients: eicosapentaenoic acid (C20: 5n – 3 EPA) and related fatty acid ratios, vitamin E, and nearly all amino acids under investigation with the exception of tryptophan, valine, and cystine. This study suggests that larval survival was maintained over time due to the supply of these key nutrients in the broodstock diet. Results indicate selective incorporation of maternally derived vitamin A and amino acids into the eggs over the time course of this study.


aquaculture; mahi-mahi; broodstock; egg quality; vitellogenesis; survival activity index