A short hatchery history: does it make a difference to aggressiveness in European grayling?

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The level of aggressive behaviour in three populations of grayling Thymallus thymallus was lower in the hatchery strains than in the wild strains at the age of 0+ years. Due to similar rearing conditions, genetic divergence of the strains was most likely. As the hatchery fish used were second generation hatchery fish, this suggested that genetic changes in the hatchery can be very rapid. Therefore, it would be beneficial to use the progeny of wild fish for re-introductions. Differences in aggressiveness between the strains still existed at the age of 1+ years, when the strains had been reared under common hatchery conditions for a year. A relatively short period in the hatchery may maintain the original behavioural characteristics of the fish and thus give the best possible basis for survival in the natural environment.

Keywords: European grayling; aggressive behaviour; divergence; hatchery; phenotypic plasticity; wild

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.0022-1112.2004.00549.x

Affiliations: 1: Integrative Ecology Unit, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Helsinki, P. O. Box 65, FI-00014, Finland and 2: Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Fisheries Research, Kotka unit, Sapokankatu 2, FI-48100 Kotka, Finland

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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