Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.Sc.

Department

Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

First Advisor

Fryer, Brian (Earth & Environmental Sciences)

Keywords

Environmental Sciences.

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

Abstract

Western Lake Erie receives tributary inputs that form open-lake plumes with distinct chemical, physical, and biological properties. I explored their importance to yellow perch (Perca flavescens) recruitment by testing two related hypotheses: 1) survival of larvae would be greater in the nutrient-rich Maumee River plume versus non-plume waters; and 2) warm temperature and high zooplankton (prey) that lead to fast larval growth would underlie survivorship differences. As expected, larval survival was higher in Maumee River plume versus non-Maumee waters during 2006 and 2007. This survival difference was unexpectedly unrelated to zooplankton availability or temperature (i.e., bottom-up effects were unimportant). Instead, I suggest that high turbidity in the Maumee River plume offered a survival advantage over non-plume waters by reducing predation mortality on larvae (i.e., top-down effects appear important). These findings should help fisheries management agencies better understand and forecast yellow perch recruitment variation in Lake Erie.

Share

COinS