Theoretical Ecology

, 1:89 | Cite as

Effects of an autocorrelated stochastic environment and fisheries on the age at maturity of Chinook salmon

  • Masami FujiwaraEmail author
Original Paper


Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) reproduce only once in their lifetime, and their age at reproduction varies among individuals (indeterminate semelparous). However, the factors that determine their spawning age still remain uncertain. Evidence from recent studies suggests that individual growth and reproduction of Chinook salmon are affected by the rate of coastal upwelling, which is shown to be positively autocorrelated between years. Therefore, the serially autocorrelated environmental is expected to play an important role in determining their spawning age. In the present study, I demonstrate the advantage of an indeterminate maturation strategy under a stochastic environment. I then present theoretical evidence for the advantage of adjusting the maturation probability based on the environment they experienced and demonstrate that fisheries reduce the fitness of the strategy to delay maturation. The results presented herein emphasize the importance of incorporating detailed life-history strategies of organisms when undertaking population management.


Age of maturity Environmental autocorrelation Life-history evolution Matrix population model Maturation adjustment strategy 



I thank Michael Mohr, Eric Bjorkstedt, and two anonymous reviewers for constructive comments on the manuscript and Marc Mangel for comments at the initial stage of this study. I also extend a special thanks to Morgan Knechtle at the California Department of Fish and Game for providing me with his preliminary result related to the maturation rate of Chinook salmon.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fisheries Ecology Division, Southwest Fisheries Science CenterNational Marine Fisheries ServiceSanta CruzUSA

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