Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 99, Issue 12, pp 1009–1018 | Cite as

Population-level variation in juvenile brown trout growth from different climatic regions of Norway to an experimental thermal gradient

  • Kim Magnus Bærum
  • Leif Asbjørn Vøllestad
  • Peter Kiffney
  • Alice Rémy
  • Thrond Oddvar Haugen


Climate-change scenarios predict increasing temperatures and more precipitation at high latitudes. Ectothermic species are highly affected by these environmental variables and due to few dispersal opportunities many populations will need to adapt to these environmental changes. Understanding if, where, and how such adaptation processes occur is important for our understanding of the possible impacts of a changing climate. Individual growth, a key life-history trait influencing population-level parameters is directly affected by temperature especially in ectotherms. Thermal adaptations that optimize growth are therefore expected in such organisms. However, knowledge about how ectothermic animals modify growth rate in the face of climate change is poor at best for many species especially at the local population level. Here, we present a common-garden experiment exploring variations in growth reaction norms for three populations of Salmo trutta (a temperate freshwater fish) over three discrete temperatures. The populations originated from different climatic regions of Norway that vary in temperature and precipitation. Thermal growth reaction norms varied among populations, however we found no convincing evidence for either local thermal adaptations or countergradient adaptations. Rather, the population variation tended to correlate with a variable indicating east vs west climate region, that is strongly associated with a gradient in precipitation in Norway. This results suggests precipitation levels with corresponding flow regimes to have a stronger selection potential for early juvenile growth compared to temperature in these systems.


Climate change Temperature Precipitation Adaptation Fish Salmonids 



We are most thankful to Olav Berge, Frode Næstad and Kåre Sandklev at Evenstad fish research facility for invaluable help and input during the experimental set-up.

Cyril Milleret and Sandra Marie Paulsen contributed during the experiment. Thanks to George Pess and three anonymous reviewers for valuable comments and suggestions to the manuscript. The study was possible through funding from Hedmark University College, Campus Evenstad. The experiment and procedures have been approved by the Norwegian Animal Research Authority (NARA) and registered by the Authority. NARA permission ID: FOTS ID 3705. The experiment have thus been conducted in accordance with the laws and regulations controlling experiments/procedures in live animals in Norway,i.e. the Animal Welfare Act of December 20th 1974, No 73, chapter VI sections 20-22 and the Regulation on Animal Experimentation of January 15th 1996.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian Institute for Nature ResearchLillehammerNorway
  2. 2.Faculty of Applied Ecology and Agricultural Sciences, Campus EvenstadHedmark University CollegeElverumNorway
  3. 3.Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of BioscienceUniversity of OsloBlindernNorway
  4. 4.National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries ServiceNorthwest Fisheries Science Center, Fish Ecology Division, Watershed ProgramMukilteoUSA
  5. 5.Department of Ecology and Natural Resource ManagementNorwegian University of Life SciencesAasNorway

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