Maternal age at maturation underpins contrasting behaviour in offspring

Burton, T., Robertsen, G., Stewart, D. C., McKelvey, S., Armstrong, J. D. and Metcalfe, N. (2016) Maternal age at maturation underpins contrasting behaviour in offspring. Behavioral Ecology, 27(5), pp. 1280-1287. (doi: 10.1093/beheco/arw073) (PMID:27656083) (PMCID:PMC5027624)

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In species where parental care occurs primarily via the provisioning of eggs, older females tend to produce larger offspring that have better fitness prospects. Remarkably however, a relationship between age of mother and fitness of offspring has also been reported independently of effects on offspring size suggesting that there may be other factors at play. Here, using experimental matings between wild Atlantic salmon that differed in their age at sexual maturation, we demonstrate distinct size-independent variation in the behaviour of their offspring that was related to the maturation age of the mother (but not the father). We found that when juvenile salmon were competing for feeding territories, offspring of early-maturing mothers were more aggressive than those of late-maturing mothers, but were out-competed for food by them. This is the first demonstration of a link between natural variation in parental age at maturation and variation in offspring behaviour

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Burton, Dr Tim and Robertsen, Miss Grethe and Metcalfe, Professor Neil
Authors: Burton, T., Robertsen, G., Stewart, D. C., McKelvey, S., Armstrong, J. D., and Metcalfe, N.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:Behavioral Ecology
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1465-7279
Published Online:10 May 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Behavioral Ecology 27(5): 1280-1287
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
568811Does maternal life history strategy influence optimal management regimes for wild salmon?Neil MetcalfeNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/I025182/1RI BIODIVERSITY ANIMAL HEALTH & COMPMED