Phenotypic variation in growth trajectories in the Arctic charr Salvelinus alpinus

J Evol Biol. 2003 Jul;16(4):543-50. doi: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2003.00566.x.


Animals with determinate growth have shown little variation in individual growth patterns, but similar analyses for animals with indeterminate growth have been lacking. We analysed the amount of phenotypic variation in growth patterns across ages among individuals of a hatchery-based population of Arctic charr, Salvelinus alpinus, Salmonidae, using the infinite-dimensional model and including the effects of group size structure. There was little phenotypic variation in growth trajectories: individuals that were small (in relation to the mean) early in life were among the smallest 2.5 years later. If the genetic variation reflects phenotypic variation, not much evolutionary change can be expected. Our results show that there are ecological conditions that determine the strong covariation of size across ages, most likely size-related dominance behaviour, which can mask the true variation of growth patterns. Thus, social interactions can have strong evolutionary effects on traits not directly involved in the behavioural interactions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Body Constitution
  • Ecology
  • Female
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Social Behavior*
  • Trout / genetics*