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Determination of body shape variation in Irish hatchery‐reared and wild Atlantic salmon

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Discriminant function analysis was used to distinguish morphologically between samples of parr, smolts and adult Atlantic salmon Salmo salar from several hatchery and river systems in Ireland. The effect of habitat shift was investigated in Atlantic salmon parr. Parr grown from the eyed‐egg stage with a non‐sibling group in a hatchery environment, came to resemble the mean body shape of their host hatchery Atlantic salmon stock more closely than that of a full sibling group grown at their natal hatchery. Wild Atlantic salmon smolts differed in shape from hatchery‐reared smolts. This difference was less pronounced, but still statistically significant when wild adults were compared with hatchery‐reared adults captured in the coastal drift‐net fishery after a year spent at sea. Rearing conditions had a significant impact on the production and growth of fish body shape. This in turn may have affected adaptability and survivorship of ranched Atlantic salmon in the marine environment.

Keywords: Salmo salar; body shape variation; environmental effects; phenotypic plasticity

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, National University of Ireland, Galway, Galway, Ireland, 2: Marine Institute, Furnace, Newport, Co. Mayo, Ireland 3: School of CIS, Kingston University, Kingston on Thames KT1 2EE, U.K. and

Publication date: May 1, 2005


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