Evol Ecol Res 7: 1171-1182 (2005)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Balancing selection on size: effects on the incidence of an alternative reproductive tactic

Nadia Aubin-Horth,1‡ Daniel A.J. Ryan,2 Shawn P. Good1§ and Julian J. Dodson1*

1Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche sur le Saumon Atlantique (CIRSA), Département de Biologie, Université Laval, Cité Universitaire, Québec, Québec G1K 7P4 and  2Department of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Prince Edward Island, 550 University Avenue, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island C1A 4P3, Canada

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: julian.dodson@bio.ulaval.ca


Question: Does fluctuating natural selection on body size of fish among years (balancing selection) influence the frequency of an alternative male reproductive tactic?

Hypothesis: When the surviving juveniles of a cohort are larger because of selection, a higher proportion of the population will develop as mature ‘sneaker’ males than expected in the absence of selection. In the case where selection favours smaller individuals, a lower proportion will develop as mature ‘sneaker’ males.

Organisms: Juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) from a naturally sustained population in the Ste-Marguerite River, Centre Interuniversitaire de Recherche sur le Saumon Atlantique, Province of Québec, Canada.

Methods: The presence of balancing size-selection was examined by measuring the proportional shift of the mean size and variance of juvenile salmon sampled in the autumn and following spring at multiple sites for each of three annual cohorts. The proportional shift in mean size of individuals over winter was then correlated with the incidence of early male maturity (sneakers) observed at the same sites for each cohort the following fall.

Conclusions: Winter mortality decreased the size of surviving fish in one cohort by 7.8% on average, increased size by 2.7% on average in another and had little effect on the third. Proportionally more juvenile males adopted the sneaker tactic when juveniles surviving winter were larger, whereas fewer juvenile males adopted the sneaker tactic when surviving juveniles were smaller. The fluctuating nature of selection on body size indirectly maintains life-cycle divergence through a direct effect on size frequencies within a cohort.

Keywords: alternative reproductive tactics, body size, development, fitness, natural selection, phenotypic plasticity, salmonid, survival, threshold trait.

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        © 2005 Julian J. Dodson. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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