Sperm velocity in an Alpine whitefish: effects of age, size, condition, fluctuating asymmetry and gonad abnormalities

Authors

  • D. Urbach,

    Corresponding author
    1. * Division of Conservation Biology, University of Bern, Erlachstr 9, 3012 Bern, Switzerland and Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern, Länggassstr. 122, P. O. Box 8466, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
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  • D. Bittner,

    1. * Division of Conservation Biology, University of Bern, Erlachstr 9, 3012 Bern, Switzerland and Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern, Länggassstr. 122, P. O. Box 8466, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
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    • Present address: Computational and Molecular Populations Genetics (CMPG), Zoological Institute, University of Bern, Baltzerstr. 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland.

  • T. L. Lenz,

    1. * Division of Conservation Biology, University of Bern, Erlachstr 9, 3012 Bern, Switzerland and Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern, Länggassstr. 122, P. O. Box 8466, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
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    • §

      Present address: Max-Planck-Institute for Limnology, 24302 Plön, Germany.

  • D. Bernet,

    1. * Division of Conservation Biology, University of Bern, Erlachstr 9, 3012 Bern, Switzerland and Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern, Länggassstr. 122, P. O. Box 8466, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
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  • T. Wahli,

    1. * Division of Conservation Biology, University of Bern, Erlachstr 9, 3012 Bern, Switzerland and Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern, Länggassstr. 122, P. O. Box 8466, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
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  • C. Wedekind

    1. * Division of Conservation Biology, University of Bern, Erlachstr 9, 3012 Bern, Switzerland and Centre for Fish and Wildlife Health, University of Bern, Länggassstr. 122, P. O. Box 8466, 3001 Bern, Switzerland
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    • Present address: Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.


†Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland. Tel.: +41 21 692 42 03; fax: +41 21 692 42 65; email: davnah.urbach@unil.ch

Abstract

The relationship between sperm velocity and individual age, size, body condition and fluctuating asymmetry was investigated in Alpine whitefish Coregonus fatioi. The fish analysed belonged to one among several sympatric whitefish populations of Lake Thun, Switzerland, which are characterized by a high prevalence of gonad alterations. Therefore, sperm velocity data were also tested for a link between gonad deformation and sperm swimming speed. Sperm velocity was significantly lower in larger-grown individuals and in individuals of higher body condition. As expected, sperm velocity was higher in males with higher levels of fluctuating asymmetry, but it did not significantly vary with male age. Moreover, variation in sperm velocity was found to be significantly higher in individuals showing some types of gonad alterations but it did not significantly correlate with the presence of other types of alterations.

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