A bioenergetics model was developed and corroborated for northern pikeminnow Ptychocheilus oregonensis, an important predator on juvenile salmonids in the Pacific Northwest. Predictions of modeled predation rate on salmonids were compared with field data from three areas of John Day Reservoir (Columbia River). To make bioenergetics model estimates of predation rate, three methods were used to approximate the change in mass of average predators during 30-d growth periods: observed change in mass between the first and the second month, predicted change in mass calculated with seasonal growth rates, and predicted change in mass based on an annual growth model. For all reservoir areas combined, bioenergetics model predictions of predation on salmon were 19% lower than field estimates based on observed masses, 45% lower than estimates based on seasonal growth rates, and 15% lower than estimates based on the annual growth model. For each growth approach, the largest differences in field-versus-model predation occurred at the midreservoir area (-84% to -67% difference). Model predictions of the rate of predation on salmonids were examined for sensitivity to parameter variation, swimming speed, sampling bias caused by gear selectivity, and asymmetric size distributions of predators. The specific daily growth rate of northern pikeminnow predicted by the model was highest in July and October and decreased during August. The bioenergetics model for northern pikeminnow performed well compared with models for other fish species that have been tested with field data. This model should be a useful tool for evaluating management actions such as predator removal, examining the influence of temperature on predation rates, and exploring interactions between predators in the Columbia River basin.
Additional publication details
Development and corroboration of a bioenergetics model for northern pikeminnow feeding on juvenile salmonids in the Columbia River