Challenges for Diadromous Fishes in a Dynamic Global Environment

Lexicon of Life Cycle Diversity in Diadromous and Other Fishes

David H. Secor and Lisa A. Kerr

doi: https://doi.org/10.47886/9781934874080.ch33

Abstract.—In the study of species life histories and the structure of diadromous populations, an emerging trend is the prevalence of life cycle diversity—that is, individuals within populations that do not conform to a single life cycle pattern. A rapid rise in publications documenting within-population variability in life cycles has resulted in the use of numerous terms and phrases. We argue that myriad terms specific to taxa, ecosystem types, and applications are in fact describing the same phenomenon—life cycle diversity. This phenomenon has been obscured by the use of multiple terms across applications, but also by the overuse of typologies (i.e., anadromy, catadromy) that fail to convey the extent of life cycle variations that underlay population, metapopulation, and species dynamics. To illustrate this, we review migration and habitat-use terms that have been used to describe life cycles and life cycle variation. Using a citation index (Cambridge Scientific Abstracts © Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts), terms were tallied across taxonomic family, ecosystem, type of application, analytical approach, and country of study. Studies on life cycle diversity have increased threefold during the past 15 years, with a total of 336 papers identified in this review. Most of the 40 terms we identified described either sedentary or migratory lifetime behaviors. The sedentary-migratory dichotomy fits well with the phenomenon of partial migration, which has been commonly reported for birds and Salmonidae and is postulated to be the result of early life thresholds (switch-points). On the other hand, the lexicon supports alternate modes of migration, beyond the simple sedentary–migratory dichotomy. Here more elaborate causal mechanisms such as the entrainment hypothesis may have application. Diversity of life cycles in fish populations, whether due to partial migration, entrainment, or other mechanisms, is increasingly recognized as having the effect of offsetting environmental stochasticity and contributing to long-term persistence.