Linking lab activity with growth and movement in the wild: explaining pace-of-life in a trout stream

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Abstract

Theory suggests that consistent individual differences in activity are linked to life history where high activity is associated with rapid growth, high dispersal tendency, and low survival (the pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis). We addressed this influential hypothesis by combining behavioral studies with fine-scale positional scoring in nature, estimating how individual movement strategies in brown trout (Salmo trutta) associate with fitness correlates (growth and survival) in the wild. Initial dispersal in the wild was positively related to the laboratory activity. Moreover, the growth of individuals with high laboratory activity decreased with increasing home range size, whereas the growth of individuals with lower laboratory activity increased slightly with increasing home range size. Survival in the wild was not associated with laboratory activity. Our results do not support the original pace-of-life syndrome hypothesis. As an alternative explanation, we suggest that the growth of individuals adopting a high-activity strategy is more sensitive to variation in resource abundance (indicated by home range size) than the fitness individuals adopting a more passive strategy.

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