Quantitative genetic and translocation experiments reveal genotype-by-environment effects on juvenile life-history traits in two populations of Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha)


Bryan D. Neff, Department of Biology, University of Western Ontario, 1151 Richmond St. N, London, Ontario, N6A 5B7, Canada.
Tel.: 519 850 2532; fax: 519 661 3935; e-mail: bneff@uwo.ca


Understanding the genetic architecture of phenotypic plasticity is required to assess how populations might respond to heterogeneous or changing environments. Although several studies have examined population-level patterns in environmental heterogeneity and plasticity, few studies have examined individual-level variation in plasticity. Here, we use the North Carolina II breeding design and translocation experiments between two populations of Chinook salmon to detail the genetic architecture and plasticity of offspring survival and growth. We followed the survival of 50 800 offspring through the larval stage and used parentage analysis to examine survival and growth through freshwater rearing. In one population, we found that additive genetic, nonadditive genetic and maternal effects explained 25%, 34% and 55% of the variance in larvae survival, respectively. In the second population, these effects explained 0%, 24% and 61% of the variance in larvae survival. In contrast, fry survival was regulated primarily by additive genetic effects, which indicates a shift from maternal to genetic effects as development proceeds. Fry growth also showed strong additive genetic effects. Translocations between populations revealed that offspring survival and growth varied between environments, the degree of which differed among families. These results indicate genetic differences among individuals in their degree of plasticity and consequently their ability to respond to environmental variation.