Populations of two short-lived species (emerald shiner Notropis atherinoides and sicklefin chub Macrhybopsis meeki) and three long-lived species (freshwater drum Aplodinotus grunniens, river carpsucker Carpiodes carpio, and sauger Stizostedion canadense) were studied in the Missouri River to examine spatial variations in life history characteristics across a latitudinal and thermal gradient (38??47???N to 48??03???N). The life history characteristics included longevity (maximum age), the rate at which asymptotic length was approached (K from the von Bertalanffy growth equation), the mean back-calculated length at age, and growth rates during the first year of life (mm/degree-day and mm/d). The mean water temperature and number of days in the growing season averaged 1.3 times greater in the southern than in the northern latitudes, while degree-days averaged twice as great. The longevity of all species except freshwater drum increased significantly from south to north, but the relationships between maximum age and latitude were curvilinear for short-lived species and linear for long-lived species. The von Bertalanffy growth coefficient for river carpsuckers and saugers increased from north to south, as indicated by significant negative relationships between K and latitude. Mean back-calculated length at age was negatively related to latitude for freshwater drums (???age 4) and saugers (ages 1-5) but positively related to latitude for river carpsuckers (???age 6). One of the growth rates examined (mm/degree-day) increased significantly from low to high latitudes for emerald shiners, sicklefin chubs, freshwater drums, and river carpsuckers during the first growing season. The other growth rate (mm/d) increased significantly from low to high latitudes for emerald shiners but was inversely related to latitude for saugers. These results suggest that the thermal regime related to latitude influences the life history characteristics of fishes in the Missouri River.
Additional publication details
Life history attributes of fishes along the latitudinal gradient of the Missouri River