Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 93, Issue 3, pp 343–355 | Cite as

Individual condition and stream temperature influence early maturation of rainbow and steelhead trout, Oncorhynchus mykiss

  • John R. McMillan
  • Jason B. Dunham
  • Gordon H. Reeves
  • Justin S. Mills
  • Chris E. Jordan
Article

Abstract

Alternative male phenotypes in salmonine fishes arise from individuals that mature as larger and older anadromous marine-migrants or as smaller and younger freshwater residents. To better understand the processes influencing the expression of these phenotypes we examined the influences of growth in length (fork length) and whole body lipid content in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Fish were sampled from the John Day River basin in northeast Oregon where both anadromous (“steelhead”) and freshwater resident rainbow trout coexist. Larger males with higher lipid levels had a greater probability of maturing as a resident at age-1+. Among males, 38% were maturing overall, and the odds ratios of the logistic model indicated that the probability of a male maturing early as a resident at age-1+ increased 49% (95% confidence interval (CI) = 23–81%) for every 5 mm increase in length and 33% (95% CI = 10–61%) for every 0.5% increase in whole body lipid content. There was an inverse association between individual condition and water temperature as growth was greater in warmer streams while whole body lipid content was higher in cooler streams. Our results support predictions from life history theory and further suggest that relationships between individual condition, maturation, and environmental variables (e.g., water temperature) are shaped by complex developmental and evolutionary influences.

Keywords

Rainbow trout Steelhead trout Alternative male phenotypes Resident male maturity Anadromy Life history 

Notes

Acknowledgements

All sampling was conducted in accordance with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife permit # OR2007-3680 M1 approved by NOAA and USFWS under the Endangered Species Act. Tim Unterwegner, Jim Ruzycki, Jeff Neal, Shelly Miller, and Chris James at ODFW helped identify survey locations and provided critical information on the John Day River basin. Nick Weber, Ian Tattam, Jeremiah Leslie assisted in data collection. Martin Fitzpatrick at USGS provided suggestions that improved the methods and manuscript. Funding was provided by NOAA, USGS, USFS, and the North Umpqua Foundation. Use of trade or firm names is for reader information only and does not constitute endorsement of any product or service by the U.S. Government.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • John R. McMillan
    • 1
  • Jason B. Dunham
    • 2
  • Gordon H. Reeves
    • 3
  • Justin S. Mills
    • 1
  • Chris E. Jordan
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Fisheries and WildlifeOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.U.S. Geological SurveyForest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science CenterCorvallisUSA
  3. 3.United States Forest Service/PNW Research StationCorvallisUSA
  4. 4.National Oceanic and Atmospheric AdministrationCorvallisUSA

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