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Pace of life syndromes in fish: harvesting effects and the role of marine reserves


The consistency of individual variation in behavioural traits over different functional contexts is now largely recognized and it has been termed personality. Fish personality can result from adaptive processes involving life-history trade-offs or physiological constraints, and the covariation between those variables implies the existence of pace of life syndromes. Human harvest has the potential to have evolutionary impacts on marine resources by selectively removing specific life-history traits (e.g size). However, in some fishing gears, behavioural traits (e.g. activity rate or boldness) determine fish vulnerability to capture, and direct selection on behaviour can therefore drive evolutionary changes in the whole suite of pace of life syndromes, impacting the productivity and sustainability of the resource. Fisheries managed on the basis of demographic considerations alone therefore ignore the potential for evolutionary changes. In theory, populations harboring different behavioural types are expected to be more resilient to environmental change because that diversity will be able to cope better with novel conditions. Marine reserves are considered a promising tool for conservation and fisheries management, since they may help to counter fisheries-induced evolution on life-history and behavioural traits being a potential tool for managing evolving fish stocks. However, marine reserves may also set up new selection pressures on fish behaviour in the same or in opposite direction to fisheries induced evolution (e.g. sedentary fish), potentially affecting the productivity of the resources through pace of life syndromes selection. This proposal aims to explore the covariation between life-history, physiological and behavioural traits in fish and the impact of human harvesting and marine reserves on them, making use of state of art methods and technology, with the objective of increasing our understanding of ecosystem functioning to sustainably manage fish stocks.

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€ 230 943,60
5817 Bergen

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Petter Baardsen (Mr.)
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