Adaptive maternal investment in the wild? Links between maternal growth trajectory and offspring size, growth, and survival in contrasting environments

Burton, T., Rollinson, N., McKelvey, S., Stewart, D. C., Armstrong, J. D. and Metcalfe, N. B. (2020) Adaptive maternal investment in the wild? Links between maternal growth trajectory and offspring size, growth, and survival in contrasting environments. American Naturalist, 195(4), pp. 678-690. (doi: 10.1086/707518) (PMID:32216673)

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Abstract

Life history theory predicts that investment per offspring should correlate negatively with the quality of environment offspring are anticipated to encounter; parents may use their own experience as juveniles to predict this environment and may modulate offspring traits such as growth capacity as well as initial size. We manipulated nutrient levels in the juvenile habitat of wild Atlantic salmon Salmo salar to investigate the hypothesis that the egg size maximizing juvenile growth and survival depends on environmental quality. We also tested whether offspring traits were related to parental growth trajectory. Mothers that grew fast when young produced more, smaller offspring than mothers that had grown slowly to reach the same size. Despite their size disadvantage, offspring of faster-growing mothers grew faster than those of slow-growing mothers in all environments, counter to the expectation that they would be competitively disadvantaged. However, they had lower relative survival in environments where the density of older predatory/competitor fish was relatively high. These links between maternal (but not paternal) growth trajectory and offspring survival rate were independent of egg size, underscoring that mothers may be adjusting egg traits other than size to suit the anticipated environment faced by their offspring.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Metcalfe, Professor Neil and Burton, Dr Tim
Authors: Burton, T., Rollinson, N., McKelvey, S., Stewart, D. C., Armstrong, J. D., and Metcalfe, N. B.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Biodiversity Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
Journal Name:American Naturalist
Publisher:University of Chicago Press
ISSN:0003-0147
ISSN (Online):1537-5323
Published Online:04 December 2019
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 University of Chicago Press
First Published:First published in American Naturalist 195(4):678-690
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy
Data DOI:10.5061/dryad.pr9543d

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
165571Does maternal life history strategy influence optimal management regimes for wild salmon?Neil MetcalfeNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/I025182/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine