Latitudinal clines in life-history variables of anadromous brown trout in Europe



Based on published data, we reviewed clinal variations in life-history characteristics of anadromous brown trout Salmo trutta from 102 European rivers at latitudes between 54 and 70° N. Growth rate in fresh water, mean smolt age, mean sea age at first sexual maturity, proportion of repeal spawners among adults, longevity, and length of adult life span exhibited latitudinal clines. Brown trout grew faster in fresh water, smolted and matured younger, lived fewer years but spawned more times in the south than in the north. The life-history traits studied were often correlated. Longevity, smolt age and sea age at maturity were negatively and smolt length and proportion of repeat spawners among adults were positively correlated with growth rate in fresh water. Longevity was positively correlated with smolt age and sea age at maturity. The latter also increased with increasing smolt age. None of these significant correlations among life history variables, except for those between smolt age and parr growth and proportion of repeat spawners and parr growth, are latitudinal effects. We do not know to what extent the latitudinal variation in life–history traits reflects phenotypic plasticity and to what extent it is caused by inherited differences among populations.