Recruitment variation related to fecundity in marine fishes

SJ Rickman, NK Dulvy, S Jennings, JD Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


An understanding of the processes that control recruitment variation is central to explaining the population dynamics of fishes and predicting their responses to exploitation. Theory predicts that interannual variation in recruitment should be positively correlated with the fecundity of fish species, but empirical studies have not supported this hypothesis. Here, we adopt a phylogenetic comparative approach, which accounts for evolutionary relatedness among stocks and species, to investigate this relationship. We calculated the mean fecundity of fishes from 52 stocks at the mean length of maturity and related this to interannual recruitment variation. We found that in 13 of 14 comparisons between stocks or closely related species, the stocks with higher fecundity have higher recruitment variation. This was true whether or not we controlled for spawning stock size. However, when the analyses were repeated using a traditional cross-species approach, which did not account for the evolutionary relatedness of stocks, the relationships were not significant. This is the first empirical study to link fecundity with recruitment variation and suggests that fecundity is an important component of fish stock dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2000

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