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Demographic and environmental influences on life-history traits of isolated populations of the Andean catfish Astroblepus ubidiai

, : Demographic and environmental influences on life-history traits of isolated populations of the Andean catfish Astroblepus ubidiai. Environmental Biology of Fishes ruary; 72(2): 189-204

In this study, we examined the influence of demographic and environmental variables on the life histories of six remnant populations of the Andean catfish Astroblepus ubidiai (Actinopterygii; Siluriform) located in isolated refuges, and tested six predictions on the relationships between age at maturity, generation time, population density and juvenile and adult growth and survival rates. The three populations inhabiting the watershed with a direct connection to a major lake (Imbakucha) exhibited later maturity, a longer generation time, higher adult survivorship, a higher adult-to-juvenile survival ratio and lower biomass density than those of the adjacent, non-lacustrine watersheds. Across all six populations, there was a strong correlation between mean age at maturity and both the adult-to-juvenile survival ratio and biomass density. Study populations also showed a pattern of inverse density-dependence associated with Allee effects. We conclude that without limitations in the availability of environmental resources, higher population density can be negatively related to age at maturity. This relationship would be expected to become positive when carrying capacity of the systems is reached. Delayed maturity in the Imbakucha populations may be an adaptive response for increasing juvenile survival under stressful conditions.


DOI: 10.1007/s10641-004-0775-6

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