We tested for differences in the predicted optimal ages at first maturity in brook charr (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Freshwater River, Newfoundland, when life-history data were collated based on the marker-assisted estimation of the relationship between body size and reproductive success rather than using fecundity as a surrogate for reproductive success. Jointly with capture–recapture data to estimate the growth and survival costs of reproduction, we found that weak relationships between body size and reproductive success generate selection against delayed maturation. This finding would not have held for females if the relationship between body size and fecundity had been used as a surrogate for the relationship between body size and reproductive success. This shows that predictions of optimal life histories can be qualitatively changed when using molecular markers to directly evaluate age- and/or size-specific effects of body size on reproductive success.
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