Probabilistic maturation reaction norms assessed from mark–recaptures of wild fish in their natural habitat
Article first published online: 1 APR 2014
© 2014 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
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Ecology and Evolution
Volume 4, Issue 9, pages 1601–1610, May 2014
How to Cite
Ecology and Evolution 2014; 4(9):1601–1610
- Issue published online: 5 MAY 2014
- Article first published online: 1 APR 2014
- Manuscript Accepted: 27 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Revised: 25 FEB 2014
- Manuscript Received: 5 DEC 2013
- Norwegian Research Council. Grant Number: 201917
- Age and size at maturation;
- life-history evolution;
- phenotypic plasticity;
- Salmo trutta ;
Reaction norms are a valuable tool in evolutionary biology. Lately, the probabilistic maturation reaction norm approach, describing probabilities of maturing at combinations of age and body size, has been much applied for testing whether phenotypic changes in exploited populations of fish are mainly plastic or involving an evolutionary component. However, due to typical field data limitations, with imperfect knowledge about individual life histories, this demographic method still needs to be assessed. Using 13 years of direct mark–recapture observations on individual growth and maturation in an intensively sampled population of brown trout (Salmo trutta), we show that the probabilistic maturation reaction norm approach may perform well even if the assumption of equal survival of juvenile and maturing fish does not hold. Earlier studies have pointed out that growth effects may confound the interpretation of shifts in maturation reaction norms, because this method in its basic form deals with body size rather than growth. In our case, however, we found that juvenile body size, rather than annual growth, was more strongly associated with maturation. Viewed against earlier studies, our results also underscore the challenges of generalizing life-history patterns among species and populations.