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A Simulation Study of the Consequences of Growth Depression and Compensatory Growth in the Threespine Stickleback, Gasterosteus Aculeatus L.

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A simulation study was used to evaluate some consequences for a population of threespine sticklebacks of failing to show compensatory ('catch-up') growth following periods of food deprivation. The simulations illustrated the reduction in mass, fecundity per spawning and maximum prey size caused by two or four weeks on maintenance rations, if compensatory growth is not shown. Evidence is provided of severe food limitation in a natural population of sticklebacks in Llyn Frongoch, mid-Wales. The capacity of the Frongoch population to show compensatory growth and the potential costs and benefits of compensation are discussed.

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