Early Life History Growth in Fish Reflects Consumption-mortality Tradeoffs

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Early life history, Growth models, Length-at-age, Risk-mediation

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Growth models used for adult fish are often inadequate to model early larval growth in the first weeks and days of life. However, growth rate during the earliest life stages may be a significant factor in determining survivorship, foraging success, transport, and settlement patterns. We fit growth models for the larvae of twelve grouper and snapper species from the families Lutjanidae and Serranidae, and conducted a survey of published early life growth models to explore growth pattern differences between taxonomic groups. The majority of these papers contained only larval stages but a few included early juvenile stages as well, so from here on we use the term “early life” to refer to larval and early juvenile stages. The majority of the grouper and snapper species are best represented by models with exponential growth patterns, which fits into the results from the literature survey. The surveyed growth literature included 31 papers which provide 94 models spanning 17 different fish families. In a meta-analysis of the growth models from the surveyed literature, exponential growth models were more often used for the early life of demersal fish, whereas linear growth models were more often used for the early life of pelagic fish. These results may indicate that early life growth patterns depend on the risk abatement strategies of each taxa.

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Fisheries Research, v. 227, art. 105538