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Variable individual consistency in timing and destination of winter migrating fish.

  • Jakob Brodersen
  • Anders Nilsson
  • Ben Chapman
  • Christian Skov
  • Lars-Anders Hansson
  • Christer Brönmark
Publishing year: 2012
Language: English
Pages: 21-23
Publication/Series: Biology letters
Volume: 8
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Royal Society

Abstract english

Migration is an important event in the life history of many animals, but there is considerable variation within populations in the timing and final destination. Such differential migration at the population level can be strongly determined by individuals showing different consistencies in migratory traits. By tagging individual cyprinid fish with uniquely coded electronic tags, and recording their winter migrations from lakes to streams for 6 consecutive years, we obtained highly detailed long-term information on the differential migration patterns of individuals. We found that individual migrants showed consistent site fidelities for over-wintering streams over multiple migratory seasons and that they were also consistent in their seasonal timing of migration. Our data also suggest that consistency itself can be considered as an individual trait, with migrants that exhibit consistent site fidelity also showing consistency in migratory timing. The finding of a mixture of both consistent and inconsistent individuals within a population furthers our understanding of intrapopulation variability in migration strategies, and we hypothesize that environmental variation can maintain such different strategies.


  • Ecology


  • Centre for Animal Movement Research
  • ISSN: 1744-9561
Anders Nilsson
E-mail: anders [dot] nilsson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se


Aquatic ecology

+46 46 222 83 65

+46 70 346 25 66



Research group

Aquatic Ecology


Doctoral students and postdocs

Main supervisor

Varpu Pärssinen

Assistant supervisor

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