Skip to main content
Dryad logo

Data from: Environmental quality predicts optimal egg size in the wild

Citation

Rollinson, Njal; Hutchings, Jeffrey A. (2013), Data from: Environmental quality predicts optimal egg size in the wild, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.0q13g

Abstract

Parents can maximize their reproductive success by balancing the trade-off between investment per offspring and fecundity. According to theory, environmental quality influences the relationship between investment per offspring and offspring fitness, such that well-provisioned offspring fare better when environmental quality is lower. A major prediction of classic theory, then, is that optimal investment per offspring will increase as environmental quality decreases. To test this prediction, we release over 30,000 juvenile Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) into eight wild stream environments, and we monitor subsequent growth and survival of juveniles. We estimate the shape of the relationship between investment per offspring (egg size) and offspring fitness in each stream. We find that optimal egg size is greater when the quality of the stream environment is lower (as estimated by a composite index of habitat quality). Across streams, the mean size of stream gravel and the mean amount of incident sunlight are the most important individual predictors of optimal egg size. Within streams, juveniles recaptured in stream subsections that featured larger gravels and greater levels of sunlight also grew relatively quickly, an association that complements our cross-stream analyses. This study provides the first empirical verification that environmental quality alters the relationship between investment per offspring and offspring fitness, such that optimal investment per offspring increases as environmental quality decreases.

Usage Notes

Location

Economy River
Canada
Nova Scotia
Minas Basin
Stewiacke River
Great Village River
45.37 N -63.27 W