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Environmental and maternal effects on embryonic and larval developmental time until dispersal of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)

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For migratory fish like lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens), the period from egg deposition through embryonic and larval development until dispersal (ELDTUD) contributes substantially to variation in survival at the individual level and to population levels of recruitment. Using genetically determined parentage, we examined the relative importance of environmental variables in a stream environment (e.g., temperature and discharge) and maternal effects (including individual female body size, spawning time, and location) to ELDTUD on an individual basis. Adult lake sturgeon (n = 208) spawning in the Upper Black River (Michigan, USA), and larvae (n = 1444) dispersing downstream were captured during the 2007 spawning season. We used generalized mixed models and multimodel inference based on Kullback–Leibler information-theoretic criteria to demonstrate that environmental variables and the maternal effects of individual female and spawning time were both important predictors of ELDTUD. Decreasing ELDTUD during the season resulted from linearly increasing temperature and nonlinearly decreasing river discharge. Spawning time and individual female explained a large proportion of variation in ELDTUD. The individual-based approach used in this study provided precise estimates of ELDTUD and also facilitated the partitioning of variation in ELDTUD of larvae produced by the same female and among females spawning at different times and different environmental conditions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisheries and Wildlife and Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 2: Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 3: Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, 203 Natural Sciences, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 4: Department of Natural Resources, 488 Cherry Creek Road, Marquette, MI 49855, USA.

Publication date: April 12, 2011

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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