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Evolution. 2001 Aug;55(8):1656-67.

Migratory costs and the evolution of egg size and number in introduced and indigenous salmon populations.

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School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, 98195, USA.


The trade-off between reproductive investment and migration should be an important factor shaping the evolution of life-history traits among populations following their radiation into habitats with different migratory costs and benefits. An experimentally induced difference in migratory rigor for families of chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), of approximately 86 km and 413 m elevation, exacted a cost to somatic energy reserves (approximately 17% reduction in metabolizable mass) and ovarian investment (13.7% reduction in ovarian mass). This cost was associated with a reduction in egg size and paralleled the phenotypic pattern of divergence between two introduced New Zealand populations of common origin, presently breeding at sites with different migration distances. The genetic pattern of divergence of these same populations, detected under common rearing, was consistent with compensation for migratory costs (the population that migrates farther invested more in ovarian mass), but egg number more than egg size was associated with this evolution. These evolutionary patterns are consistent with what is known of the inheritance of these traits and with trade-offs and constraints favoring initial evolution in offspring number over offspring size. Analysis of egg number-size patterns of other Pacific salmon populations in their native range supported the hypothesis that migration strongly influences patterns of reproductive allocation, favoring a higher ratio of egg number to egg size with greater migration distance.

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