The effects of temperature change on the hatching success and larval survival of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu
In this study, the effects of abrupt temperature change on the hatching success and larval survival of eggs, yolk-sac larvae (YSL) and larvae above nest (LAN), for both largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu were quantified. Temperature had a significant effect on hatching success and time to 50% mortality, with large heat shocks causing accelerated mortality. The temperature changes shown to influence survival of all life stages, however, were beyond what is typically experienced in the wild. Micropterus salmoides had greater egg hatching success rates and increased survival rates at YSL and LAN stages, relative to M. dolomieu. Additionally, egg hatching success and survival of LAN varied across nests within the study. These findings suggest that temperature alone may not account for variations in year-class strength and may emphasize the need for protection of the nest-guarding male Micropterus spp. to ensure recruitment.