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Offspring investment in wild Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar): relationships with smolt age and spawning condition


Correspondence: T. Burton, Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK. E-mail:


We investigated the independent effects of age at smolting and body condition at the time of spawning on egg production by female Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). For a given body size, female salmon that had smolted as juveniles after 2 years in fresh water produced smaller, more numerous eggs than females that smolted 1 year later. Furthermore, fecundity (but not egg size) was related positively to maternal body condition at spawning. Given that age at smolting is closely related to juvenile growth rate; results from this study suggest that conditions experienced by female Atlantic salmon during both early life and adulthood have implications for the size and number of eggs that they produce.