RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN GENETIC VARIABILITY AND LIFE-HISTORY FEATURES OF BONY FISHES.
Correlations between genetic variation and life-history variables were obtained for 80 species of bony fishes as a means of testing the hypothesis that genetic variation is directly related to 1) opportunity for balancing selection, as indicated by fecundity, and 2) environmental variation, as indicated by capacity for population increase. Genetic data were taken from the literature, and data on longevity, age at maturity, egg size, body size, and lifetime fecundity were taken from the literature where available and were otherwise estimated from other variables. Average heterozygosity does not increase significantly with increasing fecundity. However, heterozygosity is significantly associated with short generation times, quick maturation, small maximum size, and small eggs. Thus, heterozygosity appears to increase on a demographic continuum toward maximum values in species that are most strongly selected for maximizing the intrinsic rate of increase. Such species are associated with less stable environments. Thus, the results indicate a predominate role for environmental variation in controlling genetic variation of bony fishes.