Life-history Traits of Charr, <i>Salvelinus alpinus</i>, from a High Arctic Watercourse on Svalbard


  • Odd A. Gulseth
  • Kjell J. Nilssen



anadromous, Arctic charr, High Arctic, life-history, resident, Salvelinus alpinus, Spitsbergen, Svalbard


Three arctic charr (Salvelinus alpinus) morphs coexist within the Dieset watercourse (79°10'N, 11°20'E) on Spitsbergen, Svalbard. Small freshwater resident charr exhibited a very slow growth rate, while large freshwater resident charr grew at a rate comparable to that reported for cannibalistic charr elsewhere. First-time sea migrants of the anadromous charr were similar in size to their more southern-living Norwegian conspecifics, but on average two years older. The average number of sea runs before first-time spawning was 3.6 for males and 4.4 for females. Veteran migrants displayed growth comparable to that of anadromous charr from more southern populations. In all three morphs, sex ratio did not differ from unity. The short-lived small residents matured from an age of 4 years, 3 to 4 years earlier than did large residents and anadromous charr. The majority of small resident and anadromous charr spawn a maximum of three times, while large resident charr may spawn up to seven times. Although 69% of large resident charr were older than 15 years, only 5.7% of reproductive anadromous charr exceeded this age. This divergence may indicate different reproductive strategies between the two morphs. There was no evidence of reproductive isolation between these High Arctic charr morphs.