, Volume 73, Issue 5, pp 1004-1027
Date: 17 Jun 2010

General Classification of Maturation Reaction-Norm Shape from Size-based Processes

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Abstract

Phenotypic plasticity of size at maturation is commonly described using size–age maturation reaction norms (MRNs). MRNs for age and size at maturation are analyzed and classified into three general categories related to different size scalings of growth and mortality. The underlying model for growth and mortality is based on processes at the level of the individual, and is motivated by the energy budget of fish. MRN shape is a balance between opposing factors and depends on subtle details of size dependence of growth and mortality. MRNs with both positive and negative slopes are predicted, and for certain mortality conditions also a lower critical spawning mass. The model is applied to predict a generic fishery-induced evolutionary response and allows assessment of climate change impact on MRNs. Our work stresses the importance of using realistic size dependence of mortality and growth, since this strongly influences the predicted MRNs and sensitivity to harvest pressure.