Recent changes in burbot growth in Lake Erie

Journal of Applied Ichthyology
By: , and 

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Abstract

Recruitment of burbot Lota lota in eastern Lake Erie, estimated by catches of age-4 burbot, was high during 1997–2001 and then abruptly declined to low levels during 2002–2007. The invasive round goby Neogobius melanostomus, a benthic species, was first collected in trawl assessments in eastern Lake Erie in 1999, and was first found in stomachs of burbot in 2001. By 2003, round goby became an important prey in the diet of burbot. We hypothesized that the combined effects of low recruitment and consumption of round goby would result in increased size-at-age in burbot. We reasoned that: (i) decreased competition for resources among juveniles should result in larger adults, and (ii) consumption of a benthic prey by a bottom-dwelling predator such as burbot should require less foraging in the water column, and thus less energetic expenditure. We divided our data into two temporal periods: one in which burbot belonged to strong year classes and ate few, if any round goby (i.e., year classes 1989–1997 collected during 1997–2001) and one in which burbot belonged to weak year classes and probably ate round gobies by age 4 (year classes 1998–2003 collected during 2002–2007). Mass and total lengths at ages 4–7 were generally higher during the second period. However, the rates of growth between ages 4 and 7 were not different for the two periods. The results indicate that greater growth at ages 0–4 resulted in larger size at ages 4–7 in the latter period. More information on juvenile diet and growth in burbot is needed for effective conservation of burbot stocks.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Recent changes in burbot growth in Lake Erie
Series title Journal of Applied Ichthyology
DOI 10.1111/j.1439-0426.2011.01845.x
Volume 27
Issue S1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Publisher location Hoboken, NJ
Description 8 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title Journal of Applied Ichthyology
First page 57
Last page 64
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