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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 701:99-118 (2022)  -  DOI:

Energy allocation trade-offs between life-history traits in the Mediterranean sardine: an ecophysiological approach

Anaïs Beauvieux1,*, Quentin Queiros1,2, Luisa Metral1, Gilbert Dutto1, Eric Gasset1, François Criscuolo3, Jean-Marc Fromentin1, Claire Saraux1,3, Quentin Schull1

1MARBEC, Univ Montpellier, Ifremer, IRD, CNRS, 34200 Sète, France
2DECOD, INRAE, Institut Agro, IFREMER, 35000 Rennes, France
3IPHC-CNRS & Université De Strasbourg, 67200 Strasbourg, France
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Since 2008, there has been a major decrease in the numbers of old and large sardines in the Gulf of Lions, which has had a major effect on regional fisheries. A bottom-up process involving a shift in diet towards smaller planktonic prey has been suggested as the main driver of this development. Yet, the reproductive capacities of the sardines have not changed, suggesting potential modifications in energy allocation trade-offs. Whether this could also affect maintenance, in particular at the end of the winter reproductive period, and explain the lower adult survival and the disappearance of older individuals remains unclear. We therefore experimentally investigated the consequences of seasonal food availability (summer vs. winter) on life-history traits and energy allocation trade-offs at the individual and population levels. Our results indicate that food resources during summer had a major effect on energy reserves and growth, limiting the maximum size and body condition reached at the end of reproduction. In addition, food restrictions during growth and/or reproduction periods led to physiological costs mediated by increased oxidative damage. Mediterranean sardines did not show any ability for compensatory growth and did not appear to be capital breeders. Instead, they displayed individual differences in coping with physiological constraints and displayed various life-history strategies regardless of food availability. We highlighted 3 main individual energy allocation strategies: (1) preferential allocation to body condition or (2) to growth, or (3) simultaneous allocation to reproduction and growth. These issues are key, as climate change is expected to favour smaller phytoplankton, which might amplify the deterioration in the condition of pelagic fish.

KEY WORDS: Compensatory growth · Capital breeder · Individual quality · Oxidative stress · Reproduction · Maintenance · Sardina pilchardus

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Cite this article as: Beauvieux A, Queiros Q, Metral L, Dutto G and others (2022) Energy allocation trade-offs between life-history traits in the Mediterranean sardine: an ecophysiological approach. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 701:99-118.

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