Exploring spatial distributions of larval yellow perch Perca flavescens, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus and their prey in relation to wind

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Abstract:

The objectives of the present study were to determine if spatial differences existed between zooplankton, larval yellow perch Perca flavescens and bluegill Lepomis macrochirus (<13 mm total length, LT) in Pelican Lake (332 ha), NE, U.S.A. It was hypothesized that wind could act as a transport mechanism for larval fishes in this shallow lake, because strong winds are common at this geographic location. Potential spatial differences were explored, relating to zooplankton densities, size structure and densities of larval P. flavescens and L. macrochirus. Density differences (east v. west side of the lake) were detected for small- (two occasions), medium- (two occasions) and large-sized (one occasion) L. macrochirus larvae. No density differences were detected for small P. flavescens larvae; however, densities of medium- and large-sized P. flavescens were each higher on the west side of the lake on two occasions. There was no evidence that larval P. flavescens and L. macrochirus distributions were related to wind because they were not associated with large wind events. Likewise, large wind event days did not result in any detectable spatial differences of larval P. flavescens and L. macrochirus densities. There appeared to be no spatial mismatch between larval densities and associated prey in the years examined. Thus, wind was not apparently an influential mechanism for zooplankton and larval P. flavescens and L. macrochirus transport within Pelican Lake, and spatial differences in density may instead be related to vegetation and habitat complexities or spawning locations within this shallow lake.

Keywords: habitat; larval fishes; larval transport; match–mismatch; zooplankton

Document Type: Regular Paper

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1095-8649.2011.02924.x

Affiliations: Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences, South Dakota State University, Brookings, SD 57007, U.S.A.

Publication date: April 1, 2011

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