Simulated trapping and trawling exert similar selection on fish morphology

Thambithurai, D., Racz, A., Lindstrom, J. , Parsons, K. J. and Killen, S. S. (2022) Simulated trapping and trawling exert similar selection on fish morphology. Ecology and Evolution, 12(2), e8596. (doi: 10.1002/ece3.8596) (PMID:35169454) (PMCID:PMC8840878)

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Commercial fishery harvest can influence the evolution of wild fish populations. Our knowledge of selection on morphology is however limited, with most previous studies focusing on body size, age, and maturation. Within species, variation in morphology can influence locomotor ability, possibly making some individuals more vulnerable to capture by fishing gears. Additionally, selection on morphology has the potential to influence other foraging, behavioral, and life-history related traits. Here we carried out simulated fishing using two types of gears: a trawl (an active gear) and a trap (a passive gear), to assess morphological trait-based selection in relation to capture vulnerability. Using geometric morphometrics, we assessed differences in shape between high and low vulnerability fish, showing that high vulnerability individuals display shallower body shapes regardless of gear type. For trawling, low vulnerability fish displayed morphological characteristics that may be associated with higher burst-swimming, including a larger caudal region and narrower head, similar to evolutionary responses seen in fish populations responding to natural predation. Taken together, these results suggest that divergent selection can lead to phenotypic differences in harvested fish populations.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Lindstrom, Dr Jan and Killen, Professor Shaun and Racz, Miss Anita and Thambithurai, Dr Davide and Parsons, Dr Kevin
Authors: Thambithurai, D., Racz, A., Lindstrom, J., Parsons, K. J., and Killen, S. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Ecology and Evolution
ISSN (Online):2045-7758
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2022 The Authors
First Published:First published in Ecology and Evolution 12(2):e8596
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons licence

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
167015The Influence of Individual Physiology on Group Behaviour in Fish SchoolsShaun KillenNatural Environment Research Council (NERC)NE/J019100/1Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine