Trade-off between egg mass and egg number in brown trout


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Individual egg mass and fecundity increased with somatic mass in first time and repeat spawning wild anadromous and freshwater resident brown trout Salmo trutta. The egg mass was larger for similar-sized trout in south (58° N) than mid Norway (63° N), whereas fecundity was higher in mid- than in south Norway, making total gonadal investment similar in the two areas. Repeat spawners had heavier eggs than similar-sized first time spawners. The egg mass of residents was c. 10% larger than that of similar-sized first time spawning anadromous trout. Common garden experiments with offspring of wild anadromous trout showed no significant correlation between egg and somatic mass in first time spawners in two of the three populations studied. In the third population, a slight positive correlation was found. Similar results were found for repeat spawners. In the three populations, fecundity increased significantly with somatic mass in both first time and repeat spawners. Wild and hatchery-reared trout showed negative correlation between egg mass and fecundity when the effect of body size was excluded, indicating a trade-off between the two parameters. In wild trout, this was caused by variation among populations, whereas in hatchery fish, within population variation was observed in egg mass over fecundity. Furthermore, the egg mass of first time and repeat spawners were positively correlated, when adjusted for fish size. Size-specific gonadal investment was significantly higher in wild anadromous than resident trout. There was no significant difference in gonadal investment between first time and repeat spawners in wild anadromous trout. However, in the hatchery-reared trout, gonadal investment was significantly higher at repeat than first time maturation. The hatchery trout did not spawn naturally, but were artificially stripped. Among populations, a part of the variation in egg mass and fecundity is phenotypically plastic, a part appears genetically determined.