Is the fast growth of an equatorial Micropterus salmoides population explained by high water temperature
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Marginal increment analysis of scales collected from the introduced Micropterus salmoides population of Lake Naivasha, Kenya revealed the formation of an annual growth check, validating their use to age individual fish. Subsequent analysis of scales from 372 fish collected between 2002 and 2009 revealed individuals were very fast growing compared with native populations in North America and other introduced populations in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. This was likely to be as a result of the water temperatures in Lake Naivasha exceeding 20 °C throughout the year. This was corroborated by a meta-analysis of the growth parameters asymptotic length L∞ and growth coefficient K from across their geographical range that revealed variance was explained by differences in mean annual air temperatures. At a break point of approximately 10 °C, there was a shift to reduced L∞ and increased K, suggesting a temperature driven trade-off between growth rate and ultimate length. When adjusted for temperature and weighted for sample size, there were significant differences between the growth parameters of the North American and introduced populations, suggesting that other abiotic and biotic variables were also important determinants of the growth of individuals between the two ranges.