Life history theory reveals trade-offs in reproductive traits across fish species

Sunday 03 Jul 16
by Line Reeh


Andre Visser
DTU Aqua
+45 35 88 34 25
New study from the Centre for Ocean Life, DTU Aqua determines the empirical relationship between fish size at maturity, fecundity and spawning type in fish stocks from temperate-boreal environments

A paper from Centre for Ocean Life, DTU Aqua, examine life history traits of fish, and find a consistent empirical relationship between size at maturity, fecundity and spawning type in 29 stocks of bony fish species from temperate-boreal environments.

Simple arguments from life history theory suggest that in a stable population, survivorship to maturity must be balanced by adult reproductive value. This leads, for instance to trade-offs regarding size at maturity: specifically, a larger size at maturity not only allows for higher fecundity but requires it so as to compensate for mortality over a longer period of development.

The study finds that the expected proportionality between adult reproductive value and size is consistent with the empirical evidence from 29 stocks of several species of bony fish from temperate-boreal environments. The relationship is improved when species are separated into spawning types – determinate and indeterminate – with indeterminate spawners having a consistently higher adult reproductive value to compensate for lower survivorship of early life stages.

The scientific paper:

Stavroula Tsoukali, Karin H. Olsson,, André W. Visser, Brian R. MacKenzie:
dult lifetime reproductive value in fish depends on size and fecundity type
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 2016, 73(9): 1405-1412, 10.1139/cjfas-2015-0378