The role of density and relatedness in wild juvenile Atlantic salmon growth

Fernandes, W.P.A.; Griffiths, S.W.; Ibbotson, A.T.; Bruford, M.W.; Riley, W.D.. 2015 The role of density and relatedness in wild juvenile Atlantic salmon growth. Journal of Zoology, 295 (1). 56-64.

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Growth is a key life-history trait in fish that is influenced by both abiotic (such as temperature and water chemistry) and biotic factors (such as density and food availability). Investigating how growth performance is influenced by such factors in the wild is important for understanding how population processes influence animals in natural environments and for predicting the response to conservation and management strategies that manipulate these conditions. The theory of kin selection predicts that significant growth and survival benefits are conferred upon animals associating with close relatives. However, resource competition may be more intense among close relatives, and little is known about the trade-off between these two processes under different ecological conditions. Here, we examine the correlation between naturally occurring densities and kin-biased growth rate using a species where kin recognition has a strong impact on behaviour in laboratory studies, but where, paradoxically, field investigations have failed to document predicted kin-biased growth or survival. Intra- and inter-family differences in growth rate of juvenile Atlantic salmon Salmo salar were studied to examine how relatedness (groups of full-sibling fish and groups of mixed-sibling fish) and sibling group (family/genotype) affect salmon parr growth, and the correlation of growth rate under a range of naturally occurring densities. Parentage and relatedness of neighbouring fish were assigned using microsatellite and passive integrated transponder tags, which allowed the growth estimation of individual fish. The results show that growth rate was significantly influenced by both sibling group (family of origin) and also by an interaction between relatedness and density. The latter finding indicates that at higher densities, full-sibling groups achieved higher growth rates in comparison to mixed-sibling groups. Thus, the growth benefits of associating with relatives are not conferred under all ecological conditions, but it becomes most apparent at high density when resource competition is greatest.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Unaffiliated
ISSN: 0952-8369
Additional Keywords: Atlantic salmon, family traits, relatedness, heterogeneous advantage, growth rate, density, kin selection, kin-biased behaviour
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 11 Feb 2015 12:40 +0 (UTC)

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