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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Iteroparity and its contribution to life-history variation in Atlantic salmon

Persson, Lo; Raunsgard, Astrid; Thorstad, Eva B.; Ostborg, Gunnel; Urdal, Kurt; Saegrov, Harald; Ugedal, Ola; Hindar, Kjetil; Karlsson, Sten; Fiske, Peder; Bolstad, Geir H.


Evolution of iteroparity is shaped by the trade-off between current and future reproduction. We studied variation in iteroparity among 205 050 individual Atlantic salmon caught in 179 rivers spanning 14 degrees of latitude. The proportion of repeat spawners (iteroparous individuals) averaged 3.8% and ranged from 0% to 26% across rivers. Females were more often repeat spawners than males and had lower cost of reproduction in terms of lost body mass between spawning events. Proportion of repeat spawners for a given sea age at maturity, and the ratio of alternate to consecutive repeat spawners, increased with increasing population mean sea age at maturity. By combining smolt age, sea age at maturity, and age at additional spawning events, we identified 141 unique life-history types, and repeat spawners contributed 75% of that variation. Our results show that repeat spawners are important for life-history variation and suggest that the association between mean sea age and the frequency of repeat spawning is adaptive rather than a pleiotropic side effect arising from selection on sea age.


age at maturity; life-history evolution; local adaptation; repeat spawning; trade-off

Published in

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
2023, Volume: 80, number: 3, pages: 577–592

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Fish and Aquacultural Science

    Publication Identifiers


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