Born to run? Integrating individual behavior, physiology, and life histories in partially migratory steelhead and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/wh246v69t

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  • Steelhead and rainbow trout are common names for marine-migratory (anadromous) and freshwater-resident forms of Oncorhynchus mykiss, a partially migratory salmonid fish. Anadromous and resident forms are sympatric and can produce offspring with a life history different from their own (i.e., steelhead parents can produce rainbow trout offspring and vice versa). The expression of these alternative life histories is a plastic response to individual patterns of energy acquisition, assimilation, and allocation during juvenile life stages. Individual performance during early stream life is of particular interest because of potential carry-over effects on subsequent growth and developmental trajectories. In a series of experiments in laboratory streams, I determined the influence of individual variation in energy metabolism on behavior, growth, and life-history expression in O. mykiss. Individual variation in energy metabolism was a strong predictor of feeding territory acquisition by juvenile fish during the transition from dependence on maternal provisioning of egg yolk reserves to independent feeding. Feeding territory acquisition was positively associated with standard metabolic rate (SMR) under conditions of an abundant and predictable food supply. When the density of intraspecific competitors was manipulated, the association between SMR and territory acquisition was strongest at intermediate stocking densities, moderate at the highest stocking densities, and weakest at the lowest stocking densities. However, reducing the spatial predictability of food resources within streams reversed the influence of SMR on competitive outcomes. These experiments determined that variation in ecological conditions during early life stages imposes different selection regimes on juvenile O. mykiss and results in physiological divergence among cohorts. Subsequent rearing experiments determined that behavioral dominance influences rates of anadromy and freshwater maturation, most likely through the association between SMR and territory acquisition. In addition to the effects of behavioral dominance, I observed a significant influence of sex, rearing temperature, and individual growth trajectories on the expression of anadromy and freshwater maturation. Partially migratory populations of O. mykiss maintain an exceptionally diverse portfolio of life-history strategies. Results from this work lend insight into a suite of behavioral and physiological processes influencing individual life histories.
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