Oecologia

, Volume 167, Issue 2, pp 435–443

Fish age at maturation is influenced by temperature independently of growth

  • Anna Kuparinen
  • José M. Cano
  • John Loehr
  • Gábor Herczeg
  • Abigel Gonda
  • Juha Merilä
Population ecology - Original Paper

Abstract

Age and size at maturation are important correlates of fitness in many organisms and understanding how these are influenced by environmental conditions is therefore required to predict populations’ responses to environmental changes. In ectotherms, growth and maturation are closely linked to temperature, but nonetheless it is often unclear how temperature-induced variation in growth and temperature per se translate to the process of maturation. Here, we test this explicitly with a common garden experiment using nine-spined sticklebacks (Pungitius pungitius). We reared fish in 14 and 17°C and recorded high resolution growth trajectories and the timing of maturation on an individual basis. To characterize the growth of each individual, we fitted a von Bertalanffy growth curve to each measured growth trajectory, so that the three parameters of the curve provided a summary of an individual’s growth. Temperature treatments induced changes in both the growth parameters and the age at maturation. In females, changes in the age of maturation were encompassed by variations in growth, whereas in males there was a temperature-related shift in the age at maturation that was unrelated to growth. Our experiment demonstrates that temperature can affect maturation directly, and not only through temperature-induced changes in growth. Therefore, one cannot predict, on the basis of growth only, how changes in temperature might alter age and size at maturation and the subsequent reproduction.

Keywords

Environmental variation Growth trajectory Phenotypic plasticity Pungitius pungitius Von Bertalanffy 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna Kuparinen
    • 1
  • José M. Cano
    • 1
    • 2
  • John Loehr
    • 1
  • Gábor Herczeg
    • 1
  • Abigel Gonda
    • 1
  • Juha Merilä
    • 1
  1. 1.Ecological Genetics Research Unit, Department of BiosciencesUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Research Unit of Biodiversity (UOCSIC-PA)OviedoSpain

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