Evolution

Recovering from Stress

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Science  27 Mar 2009:
Vol. 323, Issue 5922, pp. 1647
DOI: 10.1126/science.323.5922.1647d

The evolutionary consequences of the overfishing of fish populations are generally not known, although there is evidence suggesting that fish are becoming smaller, especially in the most intensively targeted fisheries. Conover et al. harvested large fish from a captive Atlantic silverside population for five generations, followed by five generations without harvesting. They found that the population rebounded once culling had stopped, but that full recovery was estimated to take at least 12 generations. Hence, evolutionary changes due to selection on genetically determined traits, such as body size, are potentially reversible if the selective pressure is removed. — LMZ

Proc. R. Soc. London Ser. B 276, 10.1098/rspb.2009.0003 (2009).

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