Date of Award

2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Pitcher, Trevor

Keywords

Egg Quality, Egg size, Genetic effects, Lipids, Maternal Effects, Salmon

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Maternal effects have received considerable attention within the literature, however our knowledge on environmental and genetic maternal effects on egg quality in fish still remains limited. I examined both environmental and genetic maternal effects on egg quality traits in hatchery, wild and farmed Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). I found that environmental differences during early life altered certain aspects of the reproductive biology in hatchery- and wild- salmon, namely gonad and egg development, while other important components of egg quality, fatty acid profile, were not affected. By using quantitative genetic models and breeding designs, I determined that egg size was strongly influenced by maternal genetic effects and was heritable across families. Together, these results suggest that differences in early- rearing environment and associated selection pressures during early life can alter critical life history traits in adults, as a result of both environmental and genetic maternal effects.

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