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Relationship between fertilization success and the number of milt donors in rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax (Mitchell): implications for population growth rates

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A series of artificial fertilizations using rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax were conducted, each designed to assess the fertilization success of a female’s eggs with milt from one to five males. Mean egg fertilization success increased and variance in fertilization success decreased when more males contributed to a constant volume of milt. This may indicate the presence of an Allee effect. The results suggest that potential changes in egg fertilization success due to a decrease in the number of males, in addition to changes in egg production due to a decrease in the number of females, can affect estimates of maximum sustainable harvest rates, and recovery of depleted populations.

Keywords: Allee effects; Osmerus; fertilization success; rainbow smelt; recruitment

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2007.01356.x

Affiliations: Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, 1355 Oxford Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3H 4J1, Canada

Publication date: March 1, 2007

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