Life-time growth patterns of pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus introduced to Europe, relative to North American populations

The pumpkinseed Lepomis gibbosus, an omnivorous, nest guarding North American sunfish, was introduced into European waters about 100 years ago. To assess growth performance following introduction, we reviewed the available data for North American and European populations of pumpkinseed and compared the back-calculated age-specific growth for juveniles (standard length, SL, at age two) and adults (age two to five increment) as well as adult body size (SL at age five), von Bertalanffy growth model parameters and the index of growth (in length) performance (φ′). For continental comparisons of growth trajectory, mean growth curves for North American and Europe were calculated with the von Bertalanffy model using pooled data sets for each continent. Juvenile growth rate did not differ between European and North American pumpkinseed, but mean adult body size and adult growth rate were both significantly greater in North American than European populations. Adult body size decreased with increasing latitude (ANOVA) in North American populations, but this was not observed with adult growth rate. In contrast, adult body size tended to increase with latitude in European populations. Adult body size correlated significantly with φ′. The von Bertalanffy model described the overall growth patterns of North American and European populations reasonably well, but on the individual population level, length asymptotes were unrealistic (estimates that were > 20 % of the mean back-calculated size for the oldest age class) for a third of European populations and 80% of the North American populations. In contrast to North American pumpkinseed populations, somatic growth in European populations appears to be compromised by limited, but adequate, food resources, probably due to strong intraspecific interactions. This appears to be especially acute in adults, having potential ramifications for life span and reproductive allocation ​
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