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Individual-based analyses reveal high repeatability in timing and location of reproduction in lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens)

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Abstract:

Few studies have quantified the repeatability of reproductive decisions by individuals or assessed their relationship with environmental variables over multiple seasons for long-lived iteroparous fish species. Using individual-based data collected for 678 lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) over 8 consecutive years, we evaluated hypotheses regarding spawning periodicity and repeatability of spawning location, spawning time, and environmental cues associated with spawning. At our study site (Upper Black River, northern Michigan, USA), interspawning interval differed between males (2.3 ± 0.08 years) and females (3.7 ± 0.16 years), but was not significantly related to age. Individual spawning behavior was highly repeatable with respect to spawning time (relative day within the spawning season) for both sexes regardless of size or age, but was less repeatable, though still significant, relative to water temperature, river discharge, and lunar phase. Breeding area was also repeatable, with individuals spawning earlier in the season selecting locations further upstream than those spawning later. Repeatability in spawning times and locations suggest that subpopulation differentiation may develop among different spawning groups, even within small and spatially contiguous areas.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2011-132

Affiliations: 1: Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University, 13 Natural Resources Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 2: College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Statistical Consulting Center, Michigan State University, Plant and Soil Sciences Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA. 3: Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Fisheries Division, 484 Cherry Creek Road, Marquette, MI 49855, USA. 4: Department of Zoology, Michigan State University, 203 Natural Science Building, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA.

Publication date: January 5, 2012

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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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