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Parental identity influences progeny responses to incubation thermal stress in sockeye salmon Onchorhynchus nerka

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The influence of individual parentage on progeny responses to early developmental temperature stress was examined in a cross‐fertilization experiment using sockeye salmon Oncorhynchus nerka. Differences in survival, hatch timing and size were examined among five paternally linked and five maternally linked offspring families (Weaver Creek population, British Columbia, Canada) incubated at 12, 14 and 16° C from just after fertilization to hatch. Mean embryonic survival was significantly lower at 14 and 16° C; however, offspring families had substantially different survival responses across the thermal gradient (crossing reaction norms). Within temperature treatments, substantial variation in embryonic survival, alevin mass, time‐to‐hatch and hatch duration were attributable to family identity; however, most traits were governed by significant temperature–family interactions. For embryonic survival, large differences between families at 16° C were due to both female and male spawner influence, whereas inter‐family differences were obscured at 14° C (high intra‐family variation), and minimal at 12° C (only maternal influence detected). Despite post‐hatch rearing under a common cool thermal regime, persistent effects of both temperature and parentage were detected in alevin and 3 week‐old fry. Collectively, these findings highlight the crucial role that parental influences on offspring may have in shaping future selection within salmonid populations exposed to elevated thermal regimes. An increased understanding of parental and temperature influences and their persistence in early development will be essential to developing a more comprehensive view of population spawning success and determining the adaptive capacity of O. nerka populations in the face of environmental change.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: February 1, 2012


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