Migratory costs and contemporary evolution of reproductive allocation in male chinook salmon

J Evol Biol. 2003 Nov;16(6):1257-69. doi: 10.1046/j.1420-9101.2003.00631.x.


Energetically demanding migrations may impact the resources available for reproductive trait development and activity, and hence favour evolution of new investment strategies for remaining resources. We conducted a large-scale experiment to evaluate the proximate cost of migration on male reproductive investment in chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) and contemporary evolution of reproductive allocation. Experimentally induced differences in migratory costs (17 km inland and 17 m elevation vs. 100 km and 430 m) influenced dorsal hump size and upper jaw length, two traits influencing male mating success that are developed during migration. Longer migration also reduced tissue energy reserves available for competition and length of breeding life. Corresponding shifts in the balance between natural and sexual selection appear to have been responsible for heritable population divergence in secondary sexual trait investment, in approximately 26 generations, following colonization of spawning sites with different migratory demands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Female
  • Male
  • Movement*
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Salmon / physiology*
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal