Gradients of life-history variation: an intercontinental comparison of fishes
- Cite this article as:
- Vila-Gispert, A., Moreno-Amich, R. & García-Berthou, E. Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries (2002) 12: 417. doi:10.1023/A:1025352026974
Multivariate analysis identified atwo-dimensional continuum of life-historyvariation among 301 fish species from Europe,North America, South America and the Atlanticand Pacific coasts of North America. The firstaxis was associated with larger body size,higher fecundity, delayed maturation, fewerreproductive events, and shorter breedingseason on one end and small size, lowfecundity, early maturity, multiplereproductive events per year, and prolongedbreeding season on the other. The second axiscontrasted fishes having larger eggs and moreparental care against fishes with the oppositesuite of traits.Phylogenetic affiliations of species wereapparent in the general patterns of ordinationof species within orders, indicatingevolutionary divergences in life-historypatterns. In fact, partitioning the variance oflife-history traits showed that taxonomic orderand latitude were the most important factorsand geographic region and habitat the least.Despite phylogenetic constraints, basiclife-history patterns showed consistencybetween distantly geographical regions,latitudinal ranges and basic adult habitats,indicating convergences in life-historypatterns. Although the basic life-historypatterns seemed repeatable among distantlyrelated taxa, geographical and latitudinalaffiliations were apparent. Species from SouthAmerica are skewed toward the opportunisticendpoint, whereas North American marine speciesare skewed toward the periodic endpoint of thetrilateral continuum model. Most of the fishspecies from South American data set came fromfluctuating environments, so an opportunisticstrategy of early maturation and continuousspawning permits efficient recolonization ofhabitats over small spatial scales. Incontrast, most species in the North Americanand European data sets came from seasonalhabitats that are nonetheless more hydrologicalstable, so a periodic strategy of delayingmaturation to attain large clutches enhancesadult survivorship during suboptimalenvironmental conditions and recruitment whenearly life stages encounter suitableenvironmental conditions. Similarly,latitudinal affiliations were also observed:opportunistic strategists more common intropical latitudes and periodic strategistsmore common in temperate and Arctic latitudes.