Fish growth, reproduction, and bioenergetics

Most fish are indeterminate growers, meaning that unlike for example humans, who pretty much stop growing (at least in length) after reaching adulthood, fish tend to grow for many years after reaching maturity. However, investing energy and resources into reproduction reduces the energy available for somatic (body) growth, so maturing early usually means smaller adult size compared to the later-maturing individuals. This flexibility however gives fish an extra degree of freedom in their life-history strategies, because same life-time fitness can be reached by maturing earlier and reproducing over many years, or by waiting until larger size before reproducing, and then have a higher reproductive output in those fewer occasions of reproduction. Therefore it is not always easy to foresee for example the evolutionary consequences of increased mortality, particularly if the mortality is selective – as fisheries virtually always are.

Authorship in general by “first-last-author-emphasis”, students/postdocs supervised by me marked with an *.

Claireaux. M.*, Schmidt T.C.D., Olsen, E.M., Slotte, A., Varpe, Ø., Heino, M., Enberg, K. 2020. Eight decades of adaptive changes in herring reproductive investment: the joint effect of environment and exploitation, ICES Journal of Marine Science, published online, (open access)

Enberg K., C. Jørgensen, E.S. Dunlop, Ø. Varpe, D.S. Boukal, L. Baulier, S. Eliassen and M. Heino. 2012. Fishing-induced evolution of growth: concepts, mechanisms, and the empirical evidence.Marine Ecology 33: 1-25 (open access)


Lorenzen, K. and K. Enberg. 2002. Density-dependent growth as a key mechanism in the regulation of fish populations: evidence from among-population comparisons. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B-Biological Sciences 269: 49-54. (open access)

Jørgensen, C., K. Enberg, M. Mangel 2016.  Modelling and interpreting fish bioenergetics – a role for behaviour, life-history traits, and survival trade-offs. Journal of Fish Biology 88: 389-402 (open access). doi:10.1111/jfb.12834


Boukal, D.S., U. Dieckmann, K. Enberg, M. Heino, C. Jørgensen 2014. Life-history implications of the allometric scaling of growth. Journal of  Theoretical Biology 359: 199-207. (open access)

Schmidt, T. C. D., Devine, J. A., Slotte, A., *Claireaux, M., Johannessen, A., Enberg, K., Oskarsson, G. J., Kennedy, J., Kurita, Y. and Kjesbu, O. S. 2020. Environmental stressors may cause unpredicted, notably lagged life-history responses in adults of the planktivorous Atlantic herring. Progress in Oceanography 181: 14,


Tiira, K., A. Laurila, K. Enberg, and J. Piironen. 2009. Short-term dominance: stability and consequences for subsequent growth. Journal of Fish Biology 74: 2374-2385.