Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 99, Issue 6–7, pp 581–591 | Cite as

Spawn date explains variation in growth rate among families of hatchery reared Hood River steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

  • Neil F. Thompson
  • Mark R. Christie
  • Melanie L. Marine
  • Lyle D. Curtis
  • Michael S. Blouin


Body size at release for hatchery-reared steelhead is positively correlated with probability of survival to return as an adult. Although the relationship between body size and survival is well documented, little is known about what factors influence growth in the hatchery at the family level. We test if parent length, parent type (hatchery or natural), parent run date, or date of spawning correlate with among-family variation in offspring growth in the hatchery. Using Hood River winter steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), two experiments were performed over two brood years. No effect of father length, parental type, or parental run date was found on offspring length in either year. Mother length was positively correlated with offspring length during both brood years and egg size data suggest this result occurs because longer females have larger eggs (i.e., it is a maternal effect). Although run date of parents was not correlated with offspring size, the date of spawning was negatively correlated with offspring size in a year with a protracted spawning season. Families spawned later in the season were smaller than those spawned earlier even though all fish began feeding on the same date. The spawn date effect lasted surprisingly long, being correlated with offspring size one year after spawning. A possible explanation for the spawn date effect is that eggs from early-spawned families were reared in chilled water to slow development so all families would begin feeding on the same date (a common hatchery practice). Colder water could have reduced metabolic costs and provided a surplus of energy to be used for somatic growth. This study highlights a little-studied environmental effect that could have large effects on long-term growth rates for hatchery-reared O. mykiss.


Salmon Conservation Domestication Genetics 



We would like to thank J. Gidley and A. Santos of the Parkdale Fish Facility, and staff from the ODFW Oak Springs hatchery for their help in producing and maintaining the fish. We also thank Rod French and Chris Brun for their help in arranging broodstock collection and experimental set up. L. McMahon, K. Bonner, L. Thurman, and I. Phillipsen helped in sample collection and we greatly appreciate their efforts. Chris Marshall was instrumental in providing photographic equipment at the Oregon State Arthropod Collection for egg size data collection. The Oregon State University Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee approved this study. This work was supported by grants from the Bonneville Power Administration to M.S.B.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil F. Thompson
    • 1
  • Mark R. Christie
    • 1
    • 2
  • Melanie L. Marine
    • 1
    • 3
  • Lyle D. Curtis
    • 4
  • Michael S. Blouin
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Integrative BiologyOregon State UniversityCorvallisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  3. 3.Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer CenterVanderbilt UniversityNashvilleUSA
  4. 4.Oregon Department of Fish and WildlifeMaupinUSA

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