Marine Biology

, Volume 159, Issue 10, pp 2173–2183

Thermal reaction norms for growth vary among cohorts of Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus)

  • Thomas P. Hurst
  • Stephan B. Munch
  • Kate A. Lavelle
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00227-012-2003-9

Cite this article as:
Hurst, T.P., Munch, S.B. & Lavelle, K.A. Mar Biol (2012) 159: 2173. doi:10.1007/s00227-012-2003-9


While much effort has been directed at determining the spatial scales of adaptation in thermal reaction norms for growth, it is widely assumed that these reaction norms have high temporal stability. Water temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska in 2007 were the coldest on record since the mid-1970s and we present evidence that the thermal reaction norm for growth of age-0 Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) in this cohort differed significantly from two adjacent cohorts. In addition to exhibiting higher growth potential at low temperatures, the 2007 cohort had a higher mean vertebral count, consistent with the widespread thermal effect known as “Jordan’s Rule.” Variation among cohorts in these physiological and morphological traits suggests a persistent response to environmental history (epigenetic effect). Temperature-induced phenotypic plasticity in the reaction norm for growth has significant implications for using growth rates to evaluate habitat quality and illustrates the complex responses of fishes to climate variability.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag (outside the USA) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas P. Hurst
    • 1
  • Stephan B. Munch
    • 2
  • Kate A. Lavelle
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNational Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationNewportUSA
  2. 2.Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServiceSanta CruzUSA
  3. 3.Hatfield Marine Science CenterOregon State UniversityNewportUSA
  4. 4.Harte Research Institute 314, Unit 5869Texas A&M University-Corpus ChristiCorpus ChristiUSA