During the period 1968-1991, certain morphological traits of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar and sea trout S. trutta have been recorded regularly at the hatchery al Alvkarleby, central Sweden. Total body length, weight (for females both before and after stripping), number of eggs, egg size and date of ovulation. A smaller data set for fish marked and released as smells, providing information about total body length of released smelts, time spent at sea and body size of the recovered adults, was also available for analysis. According to theory and empirical data, the process of artificial breeding results in an evolutionary divergence of the cultured strain from the wild phenotypic norm. The reason for such a divergence is that both natural and sexual selection pressures are altered or relaxed during the process of artificial breeding, as well as random genetic processes, such as founder effects and in- and outbreeding. A path analysis of both species and sexes revealed that the size of the released smelts had increased during the study period. Time spent in sea has decreased for both female and male sea trout, but not for Atlantic salmon. Adult body size for female and male trout have increased as well as female trout condition Factor. The increase found in egg size of both species was greater for the salmon than for the trout, indicating that female salmon invest more in egg size with increasing body size. These results support the view that domestication probably has a significant and selective impact on the life history traits of the two salmonid species studied.
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