We used quantile regression to compare the body condition of walleye Sander vitreus and white bass Morone chrysops before (1980-1988) and after (1989-2004) the establishment of alewives Alosa pseudoharengus in Lake McConaughy, Nebraska. Higher quantiles (percentiles = 100% x quantiles [0, 1]) of weight (W) at the same total length (TL) were indicative of better body condition in an allometric growth model that included separate slopes and intercepts for the before and after groups. All quantiles of walleye weights by TL increased in the years after alewife introduction, ranging from 1.01 to 1.12 times weights in the years before alewife introduction, with greatest increases for the lower (<0.50) quantiles and greater TLs. Quantiles up to 0.25 (the lowest 25th percentiles) of white bass weights were reduced in years after alewife introduction for TLs less than 300 mm, ranging from 0.78 to 0.98 times weights in the years before alewife introduction. However, quantiles greater than or equal to 0.50 (the upper 50th percentiles) of white bass weights increased for all TLs, ranging from 1.01 to 1.06 times the pre-1988 weights. A three-group analysis, which improved the model fit for longer white bass, indicated a reduction (0.80-1.0) in white bass body condition across all TLs in the first 2 years (1989-1990) after alewife introduction, whereas body condition actually improved (1.02-1.12) across all TLs in later years (1991-2004). Thus, after the establishment of alewives in 1988, walleye body condition improved for all fish at all lengths (the greatest improvement occurring among fish in poorer condition), whereas white bass body condition was initially reduced for all fish at all lengths for 2 years and improved in subsequent years. The approach that we developed for comparing fish body condition before and after a management action in Lake McConaughy could be applied to other weight-length data sets typically evaluated with relative weight indices. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2008.
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Estimating fish body condition with quantile regression