Fitness consequences of fish circadian behavioural variation in exploited marine environments

  • Martorell-Barceló M
  • Campos-Candela A
  • Alós J
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The selective properties of fishing that influence behavioural traits have recently gained interest. Recent acoustic tracking experiments have revealed between-individual differences in the circadian behavioural traits of marine free-living fish; these differences are consistent across time and ecological contexts and generate different chronotypes. Here, we hypothesised that the directional selection resulting from fishing influences the wild circadian behavioural variation and affects differently to individuals in the same population differing in certain traits such as awakening time or rest onset time. We developed a spatially explicit social-ecological individual-based model (IBM) to test this hypothesis. The parametrisation of our IBM was fully based on empirical data; which represent a fishery formed by patchily distributed diurnal resident fish that are exploited by a fleet of mobile boats (mostly bottom fisheries). We ran our IBM with and without the observed circadian behavioural variation and estimated selection gradients as a quantitative measure of trait change. Our simulations revealed significant and strong selection gradients against early-riser chronotypes when compared with other behavioural and life-history traits. Significant selection gradients were consistent across a wide range of fishing effort scenarios. Our theoretical findings enhance our understanding of the selective properties of fishing by bridging the gaps among three traditionally separated fields: fisheries science, behavioural ecology and chronobiology. We derive some general predictions from our theoretical findings and outline a list of empirical research needs that are required to further understand the causes and consequences of circadian behavioural variation in marine fish.




Martorell-Barceló, M., Campos-Candela, A., & Alós, J. (2018). Fitness consequences of fish circadian behavioural variation in exploited marine environments. PeerJ, 6, e4814.

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