Maturation in Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar, Salmonidae): a synthesis of ecological, genetic, and molecular processes

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Kenyon Mobley, Tutku Aykanat, Yann Czorlich, Andrew House, Johanna Kurko, Antti Miettinen, Jacqueline Moustakas-Verho, Andrés Salgado, Marion Sinclair-Waters, Jukka-Pekka Verta


Over the past decades, Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar, Salmonidae) has emerged as a model system for sexual maturation research, owing to the high diversity of life history strategies, knowledge of trait genetic architecture, and their high economic value. The aim of this synthesis is to summarize the current state of knowledge concerning maturation in Atlantic salmon, outline knowledge gaps, and provide a roadmap for future work. Our summary of the current state of knowledge: 1) maturation in Atlantic salmon takes place over the entire life cycle, starting as early as embryo development, 2) variation in the timing of maturation promotes diversity in life history strategies, 3) ecological and genetic factors influence maturation, 4) maturation processes are sex-specific and may have fitness consequences for each sex, 5) genomic studies have identified large-effect loci that influence maturation, 6) the brain-pituitary-gonadal axis regulates molecular and physiological processes of maturation, 7) maturation is a key component of fisheries, aquaculture, conservation, and management, and 8) climate change, fishing pressure, and other anthropogenic stressors likely have major effects on salmon maturation. In the future, maturation research should focus on a broader diversity of life history stages, including early embryonic development, the marine phase and return migration. We recommend studies combining ecological and genetic approaches will help disentangle their relative contributions to maturation. Functional validation of large-effect loci should reveal how these genes influence maturation. Finally, continued research in maturation will improve our predictions concerning how salmon may adapt to fisheries, climate change, and other future challenges.



Behavior and Ethology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Genetics, Genetics and Genomics, Genomics, Life Sciences, Physiology, Population Biology



Published: 2020-11-10 00:49


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