Biphasic growth in fish II: Empirical assessment

Christopher Quince, Brian J. Shuter, Peter A. Abrams, Nigel P. Lester

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69 Citations (Scopus)


In [Quince, et al., 2008. Biphasic growth in fish I: Theoretical foundations. J. Theor. Biol., doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2008.05.029], we developed a set of biphasic somatic growth models, where maturation is accompanied by a deceleration of growth due to allocation of energy to reproduction. Here, we use growth data from both hatchery-raised and wild populations of a large freshwater fish (lake trout, Salvelinus namaycush) to test these models. We show that a generic biphasic model provides a better fit to these data than the von Bertalanffy model. We show that the observed deceleration of somatic growth in females varies directly with gonad weight at spawning, with observed egg volumes roughly 50% of the egg volumes predicted under the unrealistic assumption of perfectly efficient energy transfer from somatic lipids to egg lipids. We develop a Bayesian procedure to jointly fit a biphasic model to observed growth and maturity data. We show that two variants of the generic biphasic model, both of which assume that annual allocation to reproduction is adjusted to maximise lifetime reproductive output, provide complementary fits to wild population data: maturation time and early adult growth are best described by a model with no constraints on annual reproductive investment, while the growth of older fish is best described by a model that is constrained so that the ratio of gonad size to somatic weight (g) is fixed. This behaviour is consistent with the additional observation that g increases with size and age among younger, smaller breeding females but reaches a plateau among older, larger females. We then fit both of these optimal models to growth and maturation data from nineteen wild populations to generate population-specific estimates of 'adapted mortality' rate: the adult mortality consistent with observed growth and maturation schedules, given that both schedules are adapted to maximise lifetime reproductive output. We show that these estimates are strongly correlated with independent estimates of the adult mortality experienced by these populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 21 Sep 2008


  • Bayesian
  • Growth model
  • Lake trout
  • Life-history
  • Von Bertalanffy

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