Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Ability to quantify connectivity among spawning subpopulations and their relative contribution of recruits to the broader population is a critical fisheries management need. By combining microsatellite and age information from larval yellow perch (Perca flavescens) collected in the Lake St. Clair – Detroit River system (SC-DRS) and western Lake Erie with a hydrodynamic backtracking approach, we quantified subpopulation structure, connectivity, and contributions of recruits to the juvenile stage in western Lake Erie during 2006–2007. After finding weak (yet stable) genetic structure between the SC-DRS and two western Lake Erie subpopulations, microsatellites also revealed measurable recruitment of SC-DRS larvae to the juvenile stage in western Lake Erie (17%–21% during 2006–2007). Consideration of precollection larval dispersal trajectories, using hydrodynamic backtracking, increased estimated contributions to 65% in 2006 and 57% in 2007. Our findings highlight the value of complementing subpopulation discrimination methods with hydrodynamic predictions of larval dispersal by revealing the SC-DRS as a source of recruits to western Lake Erie and also showing that connectivity through larval dispersal can affect the structure and dynamics of large lake fish populations.
Brodnik, Reed M.; Fraker, Michael E.; Anderson, Eric J.; Carreon-Martinez, Lucia; DeVanna, Kristen M.; Heath, Daniel D.; Reichert, Julie M.; Roseman, Edward F.; and Ludsin, Stuart A.. (2016). Larval dispersal underlies demographically important intersystem connectivity in a Great Lakes yellow perch (Perca flavescens) population. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, 73 (3), 416-426.
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