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Temperature, selective mortality and early growth in the short-lived clupeid Spratelloides gracilis

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Six cohorts of the silver-stripe round herring Spratelloides gracilis, a fast-growing and short-lived tropical clupeid, were collected as juveniles and then as adults during austral summers from November to February in 1998–1999 and 1999–2000, using light traps in the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Otolith analysis allowed backcalculation of size and growth rate at age to examine the relative influences of selective mortality and water temperature on early growth. Negative size-selective mortality and growth-selective mortality between the juvenile and the adult stages was found only in the cohort that was the smallest and slowest growing in the period immediately following hatching. Selective mortality preferentially removed members of this cohort that were smaller from age 0 to 15 days, and slower growing from 0 to 10 days, resulting in an elevation of size at age to, or even above, that of cohorts that had not undergone this process. Size and growth rate at 5 day age intervals in the first 20 days after hatching differed among cohorts within and between summers and were strongly and positively correlated (r2= 0·61–0·83) with water temperature.
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Keywords: Indo-Pacific region; environmental factors; life-history traits; otolith; pelagic fishes; size

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: 1: IRD, UR128, BP A5, 98848 Nouméa Cedex, Nouvelle Calédonie 2: Australian Institute of Marine Science, P.O. Box 40197, Casuarina MC, Darwin, Northern Territory 0811, Australia

Publication date: 2009-03-01

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