Embryonic development of lake herring (Coregonus artedii) was observed in the laboratory at 13 constant temperatures from 0.0 to 12.1 C and in Pickerel Lake (Washtenaw County, Michigan) at natural temperature regimes. Rate of development during incubation was based on progression of the embryos through 20 identifiable stages.
An equation was derived to predict development stage at constant temperatures, on the general assumption that development stage (DS) is a function of time (days, D) and temperature (T). The equation should also be useful in interpreting estimates from future regressions that include other environmental variables that affect egg development.
A second regression model, derived primarily for fluctuating temperatures, related development rate for stage j (DRj), expressed as the reciprocal of time, to temperature (x). The generalized equation for a development stage is: DRj = abx cx2 dx3.
In general, time required for embryos to reach each stage of development in Pickerel Lake agreed closely with the time predicted from this equation, derived from our laboratory observations. Hatching time was predicted within 1 day in 1969 and within 2 days in 1970.
We used the equations derived with the second model to predict the effect of the superimposition of temperature increases of 1 and 2 C on the measured temperatures in Pickerel Lake. Conceivably, hatching dates could be affected sufficiently to jeopardize the first feeding of lake herring through loss of harmony between hatching date and seasonal food availability.