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Heredity (Edinb). 2005 Dec;95(6):449-56.

Environmental dependence of inbreeding depression in cultured Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch): aggressiveness, dominance and intraspecific competition.

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Laboratorio de Genética Cuantitativa, Departamento de Producción Animal, Facultad de Ciencias Agronómicas, Universidad de Chile, Santa Rosa 11315, La Pintana, Santiago, Chile.


We evaluated the effects of inbreeding on traits related to territorial dominance and tested whether the magnitude of inbreeding depression (ID) was modified by social environment in Coho salmon. Evaluation of behaviour in paired contests between juvenile salmon with different inbreeding (low, LI=9.5%; medium, MI=29.6%), did not show significant differences between their capacities for establishing territorial dominance (mean aggressiveness score, LI=20.0+/-22; MI=16.7+/-23 or for feeding attempts, LI=18.3+/-12; MI=21.1+/-12). However, fish with low inbreeding (LI) showed almost twice the aggressive pursuit of fish with medium inbreeding (MI), and had a higher specific growth rate (SGR) in culture (SGR(MI)=1.83+/-0.58; SGR(LI)=2.20+/-0.67). Additionally, we found evidence that the magnitude of ID was modified by social environment: (1) Masking: In small groups of fish (N=20), large dominant fish of MI, cultivated with small subordinate fish of LI, showed the same SGR as dominant fish of LI cultivated with small subordinate fish of MI. (2) Magnifying: A significant effect of ID on juvenile survival was detected only in high-density competitive environments. Thus, the number of lethal equivalents was 2.70 at high-density, and only 0.24 in a low-density environment. Our results show that differences in size associated with territorial dominance may mask deleterious effects of inbreeding under certain conditions, and support the concept that intraspecific competition usually magnifies the deleterious effects of inbreeding.

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