Behavioural influences on life history variation in juvenile atlantic salmon salmo salar

Thorpe, J.E.; Metcalfe, N.B.; Huntingford, F.A.

Environmental Biology of Fishes 33(4): 331-340

1992


ISSN/ISBN: 0378-1909
DOI: 10.1007/bf00010944
Accession: 007052658

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Abstract
Juvenile Atlantic salmon emigrate from the river in a given year as a consequence of a physiological decision influencing appetite and growth during the previous summer. The direction of the decision depends on developmental performance exceeding a genetically determined threshold at that time, and that performance is governed by environmental opportunity. The animal's foraging efficiency (ability to avoid predators, and to compete) determines how well that opportunity is used. Those fish which maintained relatively high growth after July preferred higher stream flows, and were more likely to hide than to flee from a predator. Predator vigilance reduced intake, and ability to discriminate edible particles. Early competitive ability depended on fierceness rather than size, and ultimate large size was a consequence of dominant status. Initial status among high ranking individuals (but not among low ones) predicted the likelihood of maintaining growth in late summer. Size by July was the better predictor for low ranked fish. The influence of high status on life-history variation depends on how much it suppresses the growth of those lower in the hierarchy.

Behavioural influences on life history variation in juvenile atlantic salmon salmo salar