Parental condition affects early life-history of a coral reef fish

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, 2008, 360 (2), pp. 109 - 116
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Parents can exert a range of non-genetic effects on the growth and survival of their offspring. In particular, parents may modify the size or condition of their offspring depending on the amount of energy they have available for reproduction. In this study, the body condition of breeding pairs of the coral reef fish Acanthochromis polyacanthus was experimentally manipulated to test the effects of parental condition on reproductive output and offspring life history traits. Parents in good condition commenced breeding earlier, had higher reproductive output, and their eggs exhibited increased survival during embryogenesis, compared to parents in poorer condition. Increased reproductive output was attained through more reproductive bouts over the breeding season that contained both a greater number and an increased size of eggs. The offspring from parents in good condition were larger at hatching, with larger yolk reserves and increased survival on endogenous reserves. Larger size is expected to provide benefits to offspring through reduced susceptibility to size-selective mortality. The range of offspring characteristics modified by parental condition could result in a greater proportion of offspring from good condition parents recruiting to the population. © 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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