Experimental crossbreeding reveals strain-specific variation in mortality, growth and personality in the brown trout (Salmo trutta).


Department of Environmental and Biological Sciences, University of Eastern Finland, P.O. Box 111, FI-80101, Joensuu, Finland. [Email]


Although hybridization between populations with low genetic diversity may induce heterosis, it can also lead to reduced fitness of hybrid offspring through outbreeding depression and loss of local adaptations. Using a half-sib mating design, we studied on brown trout (Salmo trutta) how hybridization of migratory hatchery-strain females with males from various strains would affect early mortality, growth and personality in F1 offspring. No differences in mortality or alevin body length were found between the crossing groups by the end of the yolk-sac stage. At later developmental stages, higher mortality and slower growth in one of the geographically distant hybrid groups indicated potential outbreeding depression. The personality component indicating boldness and exploration tendency showed fairly low genetic variation and no phenotypic differences among the crossing groups while the personality component related to freezing behavior indicated stronger freezing responses in the purebred and local cross strain when compared to the two other strains. However, the purebred hatchery strain possessed stronger additive genetic tendency for boldness and explorative behavior, and weaker genetic tendency for freezing behavior, when compared to the wild × hatchery hybrid group. Our results add to the cumulating evidence of risks related to the stocking of fish strains from non-native origins.