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Survival against the Odds: Ontogenetic Changes in Selective Pressure Mediate Growth-Mortality Trade-Offs in a Marine Fish
Monica Gagliano, Mark I. McCormick and Mark G. Meekan
Proceedings: Biological Sciences
Vol. 274, No. 1618 (Jul. 7, 2007), pp. 1575-1582
Published by: Royal Society
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25249216
Page Count: 8
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For organisms with complex life cycles, variation among individuals in traits associated with survival in one life-history stage can strongly affect the performance in subsequent stages with important repercussions on population dynamics. To identify which individual attributes are the most influential in determining patterns of survival in a cohort of reef fish, we compared the characteristics of Pomacentrus amboinensis surviving early juvenile stages on the reef with those of the cohort from which they originated. Individuals were collected at hatching, the end of the planktonic phase, and two, three, four, six and eight weeks post-settlement. Information stored in the otoliths of individual fish revealed strong carry-over effects of larval condition at hatching on juvenile survival, weeks after settlement (i.e. smaller-is-better). Among the traits examined, planktonic growth history was, by far, the most influential and long-lasting trait associated with juvenile persistence in reef habitats. However, otolith increments suggested that larval growth rate may not be maintained during early juvenile life, when selective mortality swiftly reverses its direction. These changes in selective pressure may mediate growth-mortality trade-offs between predation and starvation risks during early juvenile life. Ontogenetic changes in the shape of selectivity may be a mechanism maintaining phenotypic variation in growth rate and size within a population.
Proceedings: Biological Sciences © 2007 Royal Society