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Reproductive ecology of cultured fish in the wild

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Fish show a tremendous diversity in patterns of reproductive investment and in associated breeding systems (i.e. parental care and sexual selection, including the number of mates obtained by both sexes and the manner in which they are obtained through competition for mates and resources, courtship, and mate choice). These patterns play an integral role in shaping the evolution of populations and their dynamics, and thus changes in these patterns necessarily affect population viability. Artificial culture of fish in hatcheries, net‐pens and gene banks almost invariably disrupts the natural breeding system and alters fitness‐related traits. The implications, both genetic and ecological, of the intentional and unintentional release of these fish for wild populations are largely dependent on what occurs during breeding and its subsequent effects on offspring performance. Our findings and those of others have indicated that gene flow from cultured to wild populations is frequently impeded by altered breeding behaviour and biased by sex and life history strategy. Moreover, breeding affects subsequent offspring performance through not only genetic (e.g., disruption of co‐adapted gene complexes, MHC non‐assortative mating), but also non‐genetic maternal effects (e.g., breeding time and location, egg size). While significant advances have been made in the last decade, our understanding of the reproductive ecology of cultured fish in the wild remains somewhat in its infancy. Such study continues to be integral in enlightening our management of cultured fishes in the wild, and more broadly for increasing our understanding of fish breeding systems and thus population dynamics.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Ocean Sciences Centre, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St John’s, NL A1C 5S7, Canada

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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