Evolutionary ecology

Research agenda

Fishing is the dominant source of mortality in most commercially exploited fish stocks. This means that benefits of living long and growing large are strongly reduced as very few individuals survive to a late age. Life on the "slow lane" is disadvantaged, while "fast track" life histories gain advantage. This is well known from studies on exploited fish communities. However, during the last few years, evidence has started to accumulate suggesting that also within a species, "fast track" variants are gaining ground - exactly as life history theoreticians have predicted years ago. Thus, fishing might well be the most influential single factor driving evolution in contemporary fish populations!

Fisheries-induced evolution is the most prominent research topic in EvoFish. Ultimately, the research in EvoFish revolves around two main questions: Does fisheries-induced evolution have ecological consequences? Are the long-term societal benefits of fishing affected by fisheries-induced evolution? And if the answer to any of these two questions is affirmative, a third question naturally follows: How should management of our common renewable resources respond to these challenges posed by fisheries-induced evolution?