Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 707–720 | Cite as

Latitude and altitude differentially shape life history trajectories between the sexes in non-anadromous brown trout

  • Irene Parra
  • Graciela G. Nicola
  • L. Asbjørn Vøllestad
  • Benigno Elvira
  • Ana AlmodóvarEmail author
Original Paper


We used two different approaches involving two organizational levels and spatial scales to explore altitudinal and latitudinal variation in life histories of non-anadromous brown trout Salmo trutta. First, we studied the factors influencing the maturation of individuals from populations in northern Spain. Second, we explored the effects of altitude (range 40–1,340 m) and latitude (range 40.6–61.7°N) on longevity, maximum length, length and age at maturity, and fecundity, comparing Spanish and Norwegian populations. Individual maturation was determined by length, age, and sex, and at a given size and age individuals were more likely to mature at higher altitudes. Brown trout lived longer but attained smaller sizes at higher latitudes. Both males and females matured at an older age with increasing latitude, but latitude affected their life-history strategies differentially. Males matured at smaller sizes with increasing latitude and altitude, which may indicate that their maturation threshold depends on the growth potentiality of the river since they compete with other males from the same population. The opposite effects were detected in females. Since female fecundity increases strongly with size there may be a size below which maturation has strong fitness costs. Brown trout are extraordinarily plastic, allowing persistence in a wide variety of environments. In the context of climate change, latitudinally based studies are important to predict potential effects of climate change, especially at the southern edge of species distribution.


Maturity Reproduction Life-history strategies Europe Salmonids 



This study was supported by the Government of Navarre. This study was also supported by the Spanish Government through research project CGL 2008-04257/BOS. I. P. was funded by a postgraduate contract from the Government of Madrid and the European Social Fund (ESF). All field procedures complied with the current laws of Spain. We appreciate the constructive comments provided by the Associate Editor and three anonymous reviewers, which considerably improved the quality of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irene Parra
    • 1
  • Graciela G. Nicola
    • 2
  • L. Asbjørn Vøllestad
    • 3
  • Benigno Elvira
    • 1
  • Ana Almodóvar
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, Faculty of BiologyComplutense University of MadridMadridSpain
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain
  3. 3.Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of BiosciencesUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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