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Winter warming effects on yellow perch reproduction and recruitment

The Great Lakes have been warming.  In Lake Erie?s basin, cu¬mulative  annual days with air temperatures <  °C decreased by  .54 d/yr  (1956-2  7) and the mean minimum air temperature increased by   .23°C/yr (1977-2  7).  Increases of 3 to 8°C during winter are  expected by 2 7 -2 99 across the Great Lakes, depending on the  CO2-emission scenario.  These changes, in turn, may be driving  recruitment variability in economically and ecologically important  fishes.  Indeed, historical (1969-2  7) Lake Erie data indicate that  climate warming may in fact negatively affect yellow perch year-class  strength, as we have found consistent poor yellow perch recruitment  after short, mild winters. The mechanisms underlying this  relationship, however, are unknown.  Based on research from European  systems, we will test the following hypotheses: H1) warm winter  temperatures impair female YP reproductive (ovary) development and  reduce spawning success; and H2) poor female body condition during  autumn reduces energy that can be allocated to reproduction in winter.   Considering that recent losses of energetically rich prey (e.g.,  Diporeia in lakes Michigan & Huron) and the return of hypoxia (in Lake  Erie), which is expected to increase due to warming, have resulted in  poor fish condition, understanding whether reduced condition during  autumn can exacerbate the effect of winter warming (by reducing energy  available for spawning) seems paramount.  We will 1) conduct  experiments to evaluate the (possibly synergistic) effects of winter  temperature and female body condition entering the winter on female  reproductive output and quality, where female body condition  represents the effect of extent and severity of hypoxia during the  previous growing season, and 2) use our experimental findings to  determine the (possibly synergistic) effects of summer hypoxia (as  reflected in female body condition) and winter temperature on  historical and future yellow perch recruitment (i.e., year class  strength) in Lake Erie.

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Stuart LudsinPrincipal Investigator
Associated with 1 projects
Konrad DabrowskiResearcher
Associated with 2 projects
Elizabeth MarschallResearcher
Associated with 3 projects
Troy FarmerResearcher
Associated with 1 projects
Great Lakes Fishery Commission $ 112,726.00USDActual

Funding 54 projects for a total of $5,089,137.00
Scope of Study
Laboratory Investigation
Literature / Existing Data
Scale of Phenomena
Natural Ecological Processes
Resource Management
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Erie
State Province
Annex Numbers
Surveillance and Monitoring

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