Nutrients from Salmon Parents Alter Selection Pressures on Their Offspring

Organisms can modify their surrounding environment, but whether these changes are large enough to feed back and alter their evolutionary trajectories is not well understood, particularly in wild populations. Here we show that nutrient pulses from decomposing Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) parents alter selection pressures on their offspring with important consequences for their phenotypic and genetic diversity. We found a strong survival advantage to larger eggs and faster juvenile metabolic rates in streams lacking carcasses but not in streams containing this parental nutrient input. Differences in selection intensities led to significant phenotypic divergence in these two traits among stream types. Stronger selection in streams with low parental nutrient input also decreased the number of surviving families compared to streams with high parental nutrient levels. Observed effects of parent‐derived nutrients on selection pressures provide experimental evidence for key components of eco‐evolutionary feedbacks in wild populations.

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