, Volume 168, Issue 2, pp 393–404 | Cite as

Selective consequences of catastrophes for growth rates in a stream-dwelling salmonid

  • Simone Vincenzi
  • Alain J. Crivelli
  • Jarl Giske
  • William H. Satterthwaite
  • Marc Mangel
Population ecology - Original Paper


Optimal life histories in a fluctuating environment are likely to differ from those that are optimal in a constant environment, but we have little understanding of the consequences of bounded fluctuations versus episodic massive mortality events. Catastrophic disturbances, such as floods, droughts, landslides and fires, substantially alter the population dynamics of affected populations, but little has been done to investigate how catastrophes may act as a selective agent for life-history traits. We use an individual-based model of population dynamics of the stream-dwelling salmonid marble trout (Salmo marmoratus) to investigate how trade-offs between the growth and mortality of individuals and density-dependent body growth can lead to the maintenance of a wide or narrow range of individual variation in body growth rates in environments that are constant (i.e., only demographic stochasticity), variable (i.e., environmental stochasticity), or variable with catastrophic events that cause massive mortalities (e.g., flash floods). We find that occasional episodes of massive mortality can substantially reduce persistent variability in individual growth rates. Lowering the population density reduces density dependence and allows for higher fitness of more opportunistic strategies (rapid growth and early maturation) during the recovery period.


Catastrophes Selection Growth rates Marble trout Variable environment 



Simone Vincenzi and Jarl Giske worked on this paper while visiting the Center for Stock Assessment Research (CSTAR), a partnership between the Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries, and the University of California Santa Cruz. Simone Vincenzi was supported by a grant from “Fondazione Luigi e Francesca Brusarosco.” The authors thank Dusan Jesensek and the Tolmin Angling Association for field work. The authors thank Joel C. Trexler and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments that greatly improved the manuscript.

Supplementary material

442_2011_2096_MOESM1_ESM.doc (98 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 97 kb)
442_2011_2096_MOESM2_ESM.doc (396 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOC 396 kb)
442_2011_2096_MOESM3_ESM.doc (67 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (DOC 67 kb)
442_2011_2096_MOESM4_ESM.doc (58 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (DOC 58 kb)


  1. Arendt JA (1997) Adaptive intrinsic growth rates: an integration across taxa. Q Rev Biol 72:149–177CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bell G (2010) Fluctuating selection: the perpetual renewal of adaptation in variable environments. Phil Trans R Soc B 365:87–97PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Biro PA, Post JR, Abrahams MV (2005) Ontogeny of energy allocation reveals selective pressure promoting risk-taking behaviour in young fish cohorts. P R Soc B 272:1443–1448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bonenfant C, Gaillard J, Coulson T, Festa-Bianchet M, Loison A, Garel M, Loe LE, Blanchard P, Pettorelli N, Owen-Smith N, Du Toit J, Duncan P (2009) Empirical evidence of density-dependence in populations of large herbivores (Chap 5). Adv Ecol Res 41:313–357Google Scholar
  5. Boyce MS, Haridas CV, Lee CT (2006) Demography in an increasingly variable world. Trends Ecol Evol 21:141–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Collins JP, Young C, Howell J, Minckley WL (1981) Impact of flooding in a Sonoran Desert stream, including elimination of an endangered fish population (Poeciliopsis o. occidentalis, Poeciliidae). Southwest Nat 26:415–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. De Roos AM, Persson L, McCauley E (2003) The influence of size-dependent life-history traits on the structure and dynamics of populations and communities. Ecol Lett 6:473–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Durham BW, Wilde GR (2005) Relationship between hatch date and first-summer growth of five species of prairie-stream cyprinids. Environ Biol Fishes 72:45–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Elliott JM (1989) Growth and size variation in contrasting populations of trout Salmo trutta: an experimental study on the role of natural selection. J Anim Ecol 58:45–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Elliott JM, Hurley MA, Elliott JA (1997) Variable effects of droughts on the density of a sea-trout Salmo trutta population over 30 years. J Appl Ecol 34:1229–1238CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Engen S, Lande R, Sæther B, Weimerskirch H (2005) Extinction in relation to demographic and environmental stochasticity in age-structured models. Math Biosci 195:210–227PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gelwick FP (1990) Longitudinal and temporal comparisons of riffle and pool fish assemblages in a northeastern Oklahoma Ozark stream. Copeia 1990:1072–1082CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glover KA, Skilbrei O, Skaala Ø (2003) Stock specific growth and length frequency bimodality in brown trout (Salmo trutta L.). T Am Fish Soc 132:307–315CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Grimm V, Berger U, Bastiansen F, Eliassen S, Ginot V, Giske J, Goss-Custard J, Grand T, Heinz SK, Huse G, Huth A, Jepsen JU, Jørgensen C, Mooij WM, Müller B, Pe’er G, Piou C, Railsback SF, Robbins AM, Robbins MM, Rossmanith E, Rüger N, Strand E, Souissi S, Stillmann R, Vabø R, Visser U, DeAngelis DL (2006) A standard protocol for describing individual-based and agent-based models. Ecol Model 198:115–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Grimm V, Berger U, DeAngelis D, Polhill G, Giske J, Railsback S (2010) The ODD protocol: a review and first update. Ecol Model 221:2760–2768CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gurney WSC, Middleton DAJ (1996) Optimal resource allocation in a randomly varying environment. Funct Ecol 10:602–612CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gutschick VP, BassiriRad H (2003) Extreme events as shaping physiology, ecology, and evolution of plants: toward a unified definition and evaluation of their consequences. New Phytol 160:21–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Harrison Xa, Blount JD, Inger R, Norris DR, Bearhop S (2011) Carry-over effects as drivers of fitness differences in animals. J Anim Ecol 80:4–18PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hendry AP, Stearns SC (2003) Evolution illuminated: salmon and their relatives. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  20. Hutchings J, Jones M (1998) Life history variation and growth rate thresholds for maturity in Atlantic salmon, Salmo salar. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 55:22–47CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Jensen AJ, Johnsen BO (1999) The functional relationship between peak spring floods and survival and growth of juvenile Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta). Funct Ecol 13:778–785CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kingsolver JG, Diamond SE (2011) Phenotypic selection in natural populations: what limits directional selection? Am Nat 177:346–357PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Kingsolver JG, Pfennig DW (2007) Patterns and power of phenotypic selection in nature. Bioscience 57:561–572CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lacey EP, Real L, Antonovics J, Heckel DG (1983) Variance models in the study of life histories. Am Nat 122:114–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lande R (1976) Natural selection and random genetic drift in phenotypic evolution. Evolution 30:314–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Lande R, Engen S, Sæther B (2009) An evolutionary maximum principle for density-dependent population dynamics in a fluctuating environment. Philos T Roy Soc B 364:1511–1518CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Levins R (1968) Evolution in changing environments. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  28. Lorenzen K (2005) Population dynamics and potential of fisheries stock enhancement: practical theory for assessment and policy analysis. Philos T Roy Soc B 360:171–189CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lytle DA (1999) Use of rainfall cues by Abedus herberti (Hemiptera: Belostomatidae): a mechanism for avoiding flash floods. J Insect Behav 12:1–12CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lytle DA (2000) Biotic and abiotic effects of flash flooding in a montane desert stream. Arch Hydrobiol 150:85–100Google Scholar
  31. Lytle DA (2001) Disturbance regimes and life-history evolution. Am Nat 157:525–536PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lytle DA, Poff NL (2004) Adaptation to natural flow regimes. Trends Ecol Evol 19:94–100PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. MacArthur RH, Wilson EO (1967) The theory of island biogeography. Princeton University Press, New JerseyGoogle Scholar
  34. Mangel M, Abrahams M (2001) Age and longevity in fish, with consideration of the ferox trout. Exp Geront 36:765–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Mangel M, Stamps J (2001) Trade-offs between growth and mortality and the maintenance of individual variation in growth. Evol Ecol Res 3:583–593Google Scholar
  36. Mangel M, Tier C (1994) Four facts every conservation biologists should know about persistence. Ecology 75:607–614CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Marchi L, Borga M, Preciso E, Gaume E (2010) Characterisation of selected extreme flash floods in Europe and implications for flood risk management. J Hydrol 394:118–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Meffe GK (1984) Effects of abiotic disturbance on coexistence of predator–prey fish species. Ecology 65:1525–1534CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Meldgaard T, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, Poizat G, Rubin J-F, Berrebi P (2007) Hybridization mechanisms between the endangered marble trout (Salmo marmoratus) and the brown trout (Salmo trutta) as revealed by in-stream experiments. Biol Conserv 136:602–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Min S-K, Zhang X, Zwiers FW, Hegerl GC (2011) Human contribution to more-intense precipitation extremes. Nature 470:378–381PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Munch SB, Conover DO (2003) Rapid growth results in increased susceptibility to predation in Menidia menidia. Evolution 57:2119–2127PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Pall P, Aina T, Stone DA, Stott PA, Nozawa T, Hilberts AGJ, Lohmann D, Allen MR (2011) Anthropogenic greenhouse gas contribution to flood risk in England and Wales in autumn 2000. Nature 470:382–385PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Pelletier F, Garant D, Hendry AP (2009) Eco-evolutionary dynamics. Philos T Roy Soc B 364:1483–1489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Poff NL, Ward JV (1989) Implications of streamflow variability and predictability for lotic community structure: a regional analysis of streamflow patterns. Can J Fish Aquat Sci 46:1805–1818Google Scholar
  45. Post JR, Parkinson E (2001) Energy allocation strategy in young fish: allometry and survival. Ecology 82:1040–1051CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Roff D (2002) Life history evolution. Sinauer Associates, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  47. Ruzzante D, Walde S, Gosse J, Cussac V, Habit E, Zemlak T, Adams E (2008) Climate control on ancestral population dynamics: insight from Patagonian fish phylogeography. Mol Ecol 17:2234–2244PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Schaffer W (1974) Optimal reproductive effort in fluctuating environments. Am Nat 108:783–790CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Siepielski AM, DiBattista JD, Carlson SM (2009) It’s about time: the temporal dynamics of phenotypic selection in the wild. Ecol Lett 12:1261–1276PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Solomon S, Qin D, Manning M, Chen Z, Marquis M, Averyt KB, Tignor M, Miller HL (eds)(2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  51. Sousa WP (1984) The role of disturbance in natural communities. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 15:353–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Spranza JJ, Stanley EH, Street NP (2000) Condition, growth, and reproductive styles of fishes exposed to different environmental regimes in a prairie drainage. Environ Biol Fishes 59:99–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Stoks R, De Block M, McPeek MA (2005) Alternative growth and energy storage responses to mortality threats in damselflies. Ecol Lett 8:1307–1316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Sundström LF, Lõhmus M, Devlin RH (2005) Selection on increased intrinsic growth rates in coho salmon, Oncorhynchus kisutch. Evolution 59:1560–1569PubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Travis J (1989) The role of optimizing selection in natural populations. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 20:279–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Turner MG, Baker WL, Peterson CJ, Peet RK (1998) Factors influencing succession: lessons from large, infrequent natural disturbances. Ecosystems 1:511–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Utrilla CG, Lobon-Cervia J (1999) Life-history patterns in a southern population of Atlantic salmon. J Fish Biol 55:68–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Venable DL, Brown JS (1988) The selective interactions of dispersal, dormancy, and seed size as adaptations for reducing risk in variable environments. Am Nat 131:360–384CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, Rubin J-F, De Leo GA (2007a) Early survival of marble trout Salmo marmoratus: evidence for density dependence? Ecol Freshw Fish 16:116–123Google Scholar
  60. Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, Rubin J, De Leo GA (2007b) Density-dependent individual growth of marble trout (Salmo marmoratus) in the Soca and Idrijca river basins, Slovenia. Hydrobiologia 583:57–68CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, De Leo GA (2008a) The role of density-dependent individual growth in the persistence of freshwater salmonid populations. Oecologia 156:523–534PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, Rubin J-F, Poizat G, De Leo GA (2008b) Potential factors controlling the population viability of newly introduced endangered marble trout populations. Biol Conserv 141:198–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, De Leo GA (2008c) Total population density during the first year of life as a major determinant of lifetime body-length trajectory in marble trout. Ecol Freshw Fish 17:515–519CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Vincenzi S, Crivelli AJ, Jesensek D, De Leo GA (2010) Individual growth and its implications for the recruitment dynamics of stream-dwelling marble trout (Salmo marmoratus). Ecol Freshw Fish 19:477–486CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Vrijenhoek RC, Douglas ME, Meffe GK (1985) Conservation genetics of endangered fish populations in Arizona. Science 229:400–402PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Ward DL, Schultz AA, Matson PG (2003) Differences in swimming ability and behavior in response to high water velocities among native and nonnative fishes. Environ Biol Fishes 68:87–92CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Wootton JT (1998a) Effects of disturbance on species diversity: a multitrophic perspective. Am Nat 152:803–825Google Scholar
  68. Wootton RJ (1998b) Ecology of teleost fishes. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Vincenzi
    • 1
    • 4
    • 5
  • Alain J. Crivelli
    • 2
  • Jarl Giske
    • 3
  • William H. Satterthwaite
    • 4
  • Marc Mangel
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Scienze AmbientaliUniversità degli Studi di ParmaParmaItaly
  2. 2.Station Biologique de la Tour du Valat, Le SambucArlesFrance
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics, Center for Stock Assessment ResearchUniversity of CaliforniaSanta CruzUSA
  5. 5.MRAG AmericasCapitolaUSA

Personalised recommendations