Date of this Version
Fisheries Research 147 (2013) 394– 398; http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.fishres.2013.05.010
The growth of age-0 fishes influences survival, especially in temperate regions where size-dependent over-winter mortality can be substantial. Additional benefits of earlier maturation and greater fecundity may exist for faster growing individuals. This study correlated prey densities, growing-degree days, water-surface elevation, turbidity, and chlorophyll a with age-0 walleye Sander vitreus growth in a south-central Nebraska irrigation reservoir. Growth of age-0 walleye was variable between 2003 and 2011, with mean lengths ranging from 128 to 231 mm by fall (September 30th–October 15th). A set of a priori candidate models were used to assess the relative support of explanatory variables using Akaike’s information criterion (AIC). A temperature model using the growing degree-days metric was the best supported model, describing 65% of the variability in annual mean lengths of age-0 walleye. The second and third best supported models included the variables chlorophyll a (r2= 0.49) and larval freshwater drum density(r2= 0.45), respectively. There have been mixed results concerning the importance of temperature effects on growth of age-0 walleye. This study supports the hypothesis that temperature is the most important predictor of age-0 walleye growth near the southwestern limits of its natural range.
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