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Maternal transfer of carbon and nitrogen to progeny of sea-run and resident brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis)

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Early-life history characteristics of sea-run and resident salmonid fishes that co-exist in sympatry are poorly understood. To assess differences in characteristics of offspring of these two strategies following their emergence to the stream, stable isotope ratios (13C and 15N) were used to identify the progeny of resident and sea-run female brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in a tributary of the Miramichi River, New Brunswick, Canada. Upon emergence, sea-run progeny captured in emergence traps were longer, heavier, and had higher carbon to nitrogen ratios (C/N, an indicator of lipid content) than resident progeny, but did not have a higher body condition. After some feeding and growth in the stream, sea-run progeny (still identifiable by their 13C and 15N) captured in dip-nets became longer, heavier, had higher C/N, and had higher condition than resident progeny. The proportion of fish caught in dip nets at sites where the two forms co-existed was dominated by offspring of sea-run females (sea-run = 56%, resident = 19%, unknown = 25%). These analyses suggest that offspring of sea-run, female trout benefit from maternally derived energy reserves gained at sea and thus have potential adaptive advantages over offspring of residents.

Les caractéristiques des premières étapes du cycle des poissons salmonidés anadromes et résidants qui vivent en sympatrie restent mal comprises. Pour évaluer les caractéristiques différentes des rejetons issus de ces deux stratégies après leur émergence dans le cours d’eau, nous avons utilisé les rapports d’isotopes stables (13C et 15N) pour distinguer les rejetons des femelles résidantes et anadromes de l’omble de fontaine (Salvelinus fontinalis) dans un tributaire de la Miramichi, Nouveau-Brunswick, Canada. À l’émergence, les rejetons anadromes capturés dans les pièges d’émergence sont plus longs et plus lourds et possèdent un rapport carbone sur azote (C/N, un indicateur du contenu lipidique) plus élevé que les rejetons résidants, mais ils n’ont pas une meilleure condition corporelle. Après s’être alimentés et avoir fait de la croissance dans le cours d’eau, les rejetons anadromes (encore identifiables par leurs 13C et 15N) capturés dans des épuisettes sont devenus plus longs et plus lourds et possèdent un rapport C/N et une condition plus élevés que les rejetons résidants. Les proportions des poissons capturés par épuisette dans les sites dans lesquels les deux formes cohabitent sont dominées par les rejetons des femelles anadromes (anadromes = 56%, résidants = 19%, inconnus = 25%). Ces analyses laissent croire que les rejetons des ombles femelles anadromes tirent bénéfice des réserves d’énergie d’origine maternelle accumulées en mer et qu’ils possèdent ainsi un avantage adaptatif potentiel par rapport aux rejetons des résidants.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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