, Volume 521, Issue 1-3, pp 177-186

Annual variability in the life-history characteristics of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) in a subalpine Norwegian lake

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Abstract

The annual variability in growth and life history traits of brown trout (Salmo trutta L.) and Arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus (L.)) in Lake Atnsjøen, a Norwegian subalpine lake, was studied over a period of 13 years (1985–1997). The extent to which life-history characteristics recorded on one occasion can be regarded as representative for the population was explored. We found inter-cohort variation in growth for both species; estimates of asymptotic length (L ) in ten cohorts ranged between 225–305 mm (CV = 10.5%) for brown trout and 273–301 mm (CV = 4.1%) for Arctic charr. However, this variation was much lower than inter-population variation for brown trout based on single samples from 169 populations (CV = 24.6%). In Lake Atnsjøen, annual growth increment correlated highly with the number of days warmer than 7 °C (R 2=0.60–0.89) for brown trout, and days warmer than 10 °C (R 2=0.40–0.58) for Arctic charr. Females of Arctic charr were younger at sexual maturity than males, while no such difference was found in brown trout. Generally speaking, early maturing individuals of both species grew faster, particularly from age-2 and onwards, than immature individuals. Early maturing individuals, however, were smaller at maturity than those maturing one year older. Age and size at maturity were significantly correlated with asymptotic lengths only in Arctic charr females.