3 years ago

Issues of aquatic experimentation in research on marine finfish larval production in Europe and North America

Ove Nicolaisen


The aim of this review was to examine practices in academic research focusing on production of larvae of European marine fish species. The literature spanned peer‐reviewed articles over the years 1977–2014 for the main commercially produced marine species: Atlantic cod, halibut, sea bream, sea bass and turbot. Search hits were categorized into the main themes basic biology, natural habitat studies and aquaculture, and the latter theme further subdivided into nutrition, health, reproduction and production factor studies. In total, 74 of the production factor studies were thoroughly examined in terms of overall research structure, study designs, methods, analyses and reporting practices. A picture of a fragmented whole with many isolated contributors and limited cooperation appeared, and despite the multivariate nature and high complexity of the area, isolated and low replicated studies focusing on one variable at the time dominated. Randomization and blinding procedures were rarely accounted for, and a need to standardize practical conduct of research in terms of physical infrastructure, biological material used, control of tank environment, sampling, tank tending and response measurements appeared. Issues of statistical analysis were also apparent, spanning the choice of main techniques and follow‐up contrast procedures and Pseudoreplication. Additionally, the reporting of designs, analyses and results was often incomplete. Consequences of the different issues are discussed, and possible remedies proposed. The findings are in accordance with conclusions from contemporary studies addressing scientific quality and methodological issues at other areas of research.

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