Evolutionary assembly rules for fish life histories

E.L. Charnov, Henrik Gislason, J.G. Pope

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We revisit the empirical equation of Gislason et al. (2010, Fish and Fisheries11:149-158) for predicting natural mortality (M, year -1) of marine fish. We show it to be equivalent to , where L ∞ (cm) and K (year -1) are the von Bertalanffy growth equation (VBGE) parameters, and L (cm) is fish length along the growth trajectory within the species. We then interpret K in terms of the VBGE in mass , and show that the previous equation is itself equivalent to a -1/3 power function rule between M and the mass at first reproduction (W α); this new -1/3 power function emerges directly from the life history that maximizes Darwinian fitness in non-growing populations. We merge this M, W α power function with other power functions to produce general across-species scaling rules for yearly reproductive allocation, reproductive effort and age at first reproduction in fish. We then suggest a new way to classify habitats (or lifestyles) as to the life histories they should contain, and we contrast our scheme with the widely used Winemiller-Rose fish lifestyle classification
Original languageEnglish
JournalFish and Fisheries
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)213-224
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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