Further methods and results from Altered trait variability in response to size-selective mortality
2016-09-14T10:42:11Z (GMT) by
Changes in trait variability owing to size-selective harvesting have received little attention in comparison with changes in mean trait values, perhaps because of the expectation that phenotypic variability should generally be eroded by directional selection typical for fishing and hunting. We show, however, that directional selection, in particular for large body size, leads to increased body-size variation in experimentally harvested zebrafish (Danio rerio) populations exposed to two alternative feeding environments: ad libitum and temporarily restricted food availability. Trait variation may influence population adaptivity, stability and resilience. Therefore, rather than exerting selection pressures that favor small individuals, our results stress the importance of protecting large ones as they can harbor a great amount of variation within a population, to manage fish stocks sustainably.