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The evolution of life-history variation in fishes, with particular reference to flatfishes
Roff, D.A. (1991). The evolution of life-history variation in fishes, with particular reference to flatfishes. Neth. J. Sea Res. 27(3-4): 197-207
In: Netherlands Journal of Sea Research. Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ): Groningen; Den Burg. ISSN 0077-7579, more
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  • Roff, D.A.

    This paper explores four aspects of the evolution of life-history variation in fish, with particular reference to the flatfishes: 1. genetic variation and evolutionary response; 2. the size and age at first reproduction; 3. adult lifespan and variation in recruitment; 4. the relationship between reproductive effort and age. Evolutionary response may be limited by previous evolutionary pathways (phylogenetic variation) or by lack of genetic variation due to selection for a single trait. Estimates of heritability suggest, as predicted, that selection is stronger on life-history traits than morphological traits; but there is still adequate genetic variation to permit fairly rapid evolutionary changes. Several approaches to the analysis of the optimal age and size at first reproduction are discussed in the light of a general life-history model based on the assumption that natural selection maximizes r or R0. It is concluded that one of the most important areas of future research is the relationship between reproduction and mortality. Murphy's hypothesis that the reproductive lifespan should increase with variation in spawning success is shown to be incorrect for fish, at least at the level of interspecific comparison. The model of Charlesworth & León predicting the sufficient condition for reproductive effort to increase with age is tested: in 28 of 31 cases the model predicts an increase of reproductive effort with age. These results suggest that, in general, reproductive effort should increase with age in fish. This prediction is confirmed in the 15 species for which adequate data exist.

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