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Free Content Detecting Fisheries-Induced Life-History Evolution: An Overview of the Reaction-Norm Approach

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Abstract:

Life-history theory unequivocally suggests that fishing acts as a powerful driver of life-history evolution in exploited fish populations. Because life-history traits are closely linked to the dynamics and productivity of fish populations, understanding and documenting the extent to which this expectation is borne out in reality is both scientifically and practically important. The primary empirical challenges are twofold: observing phenotypic change does not imply genetic change as life-history traits are phenotypically plastic, and fishing is but one potential driver of contemporary evolution. here we focus on the first challenge by describing how to work toward disentangling genetic and plastic effects in the absence of genetic data. In particular, we explain how the consideration of maturation reaction norms helps to disentangle genetic and plastic changes in age and size at maturation. We first outline the logic and limitations of the maturation reaction-norm approach. We then review the most important statistical methods available for estimating maturation reaction norms from empirical data. For each of these methods, we discuss its domain of applicability together with its strengths and weaknesses.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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  • The Bulletin of Marine Science is dedicated to the dissemination of high quality research from the world's oceans. All aspects of marine science are treated by the Bulletin of Marine Science, including papers in marine biology, biological oceanography, fisheries, marine affairs, applied marine physics, marine geology and geophysics, marine and atmospheric chemistry, and meteorology and physical oceanography.
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