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Evidence of an adaptive basis for geographic variation in body morphology and time of downstream migration of juvenile atlantic salmon salmo salar


Canadian Journal of Fisheries & Aquatic Sciences 38(3): 308-320
Evidence of an adaptive basis for geographic variation in body morphology and time of downstream migration of juvenile atlantic salmon salmo salar
Differences in growth rate, proximate composition, body morphology and time of downstream migration between 2 populations inhabiting tributaries of the Miramichi River, New Brunswick [Canada], that differed in distance from the head of tide, temperature and flow velocity were studied. Rocky Brook, located 132.6 km above the head of tide, had lower temperatures and higher average flow velocities than the Sabbies River, located 42.5 km above tide. Growth rate and proximate composition were similar between populations, but body morphology and time of downstream migration differed significantly between populations. Individuals from Rocky Brook had more fusiform bodies and larger paired fins than their counterparts in Sabbies River. Rocky Brook fish also left the tributary in the fall rather than in the spring as was the case in Sabbies River. The generality of the flow regime-body morphology relationship observed was tested and confirmed by predicting differences in morphology of juvenile salmon in other rivers based on a knowledge of their flow regimes. Early migration by the Rocky Brook fish probably is related to the higher energetic costs of overwintering in that stream. The phenotypic similarity in growth rate and proximate composition and geographic variation in body morphology and timing of migration have an adaptive basis.

Accession: 005411221

DOI: 10.1139/f81-042

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