Growth is arguably the most important dynamic rate function due to its interaction with survival and recruitment. As such, understanding the mechanisms underlying growth is a primary focus of fisheries research. Kokanee Oncorhynchus nerka in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, provide an interesting case study for investigating the factors that influence growth. Early‐run and late‐run kokanee occur in Lake Pend Oreille, but early‐run fish generally grow faster than late‐run fish. The observed growth disparity between early‐ and late‐run fish could be due to genetic differences between the two groups. Conversely, a common hatchery practice of slowing growth by reducing feed has been hypothesized to elicit a compensatory growth response in early‐run fish and to explain the size difference between breeding groups. Using two different experiments, we tested the hypotheses that (1) early‐run kokanee are genetically disposed to grow faster than late‐run kokanee at identical water temperatures; and (2) feed restriction elicits a compensatory growth response in early‐run kokanee that explains the observed size difference between breeding groups. Estimates of mean FL, weight, Fulton's condition factor (K), and specific growth rate (SGR) were not significantly different (P ≥ 0.05) between early‐run and late‐run fish in the first experiment. However, water temperature was positively related to mean FL, weight, K, and SGR for both breeding groups. Fish that were subjected to food deprivation exhibited an increased growth rate and obtained weights similar to those of control fish. Overall, our results suggest that early‐ and late‐run fish have similar growth potential, but certain hatchery practices likely provide early‐run fish with an initial advantage in growth, size, or both.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Growth disparity in sympatric kokanee breeding groups|
|Series title||North American Journal of Aquaculture|
|Publisher||American Fisheries Society|
|Contributing office(s)||Coop Res Unit Seattle|
|Other Geospatial||Lake Pend Oreille|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|