Environment-specific and sex-specific allocation strategies among gonadal, somatic and immune indices in a marine fish

Loren Merrill, Peter M. Collins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the relative investment in somatic, gonadal, and liver growth, as well as a measure of immune function, in a marine species of fish (cabezon, Scorpaenichthys marmoratus (Ayres, 1854)) reared under different ambient temperature regimes (mean temperatures: 14.8 °C in Santa Barbara and 12.7 °C in Cayucos; both in California, USA). We predicted that fish reared in colder water would exhibit more pronounced trade-offs among growth, development, and immune parameters than fish in warmer water, and that females would have more pronounced trade-offs than males due to increased energy requirements for ovary development. We found immune function and liver investment were positively related in cold-water fish, but unrelated in warmer water fish. Immune function positively covaried with gonadal investment, but was not associated with somatic investment. Gonadal investment was negatively related to somatic investment, but this was driven by females, as there was no relationship between gonad development and somatic growth in males. We also found that the sexes differed in the relationship between gonadal and liver investments, in which females again exhibited a negative association but males exhibited a positive association. These results indicate that developmental investment strategies in cabezon are flexible and may be both context-specific and sex-specific.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalCanadian journal of zoology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 28 2015


  • INHS
  • Life history
  • Cabezon
  • Trade-off
  • Development
  • Scorpaenichthys marmoratus
  • Aquaculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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