Population fecundity can vary through time, sometimes owing to changes in adult condition. Consideration of these fecundity changes can improve understanding of recruitment variation. Herein, we estimated fecundity of Lake Michigan bloater Coregonus hoyi during December 2005 and February 2006. Bloater recruitment has been highly variable from 1962 to present, and consistently poor since 1992. We compared our fecundity vs. weight regression to a previously published regression that used fish sampled in October 1969. We wanted to develop a new regression for two reasons. First, it should be more accurate because it uses fish collected closer to spawning, thus minimizing the potential for atresia (egg reabsorption) which could bias fecundity high. Second, we hypothesized that fecundity would be lower in 2006 because adult condition was 41% lower in 2006 compared to 1969, likely owing to the decline of Diporeia spp, a primary prey for bloater. Although the slope of the fecundity versus weight regression was similar between the years, fecundity was 24% lower in 2006 than in 1969 for bloater weighing between 70 and 240??g. Whether this was the result of the difference in sampling time prior to spawning or of differences in condition is unknown. We also found no relationship between maternal size and mature oocyte size. Incorporating our updated fecundity regression into a stock/recruit model failed to improve the model fit, indicating that the low bloater recruitment that has been observed since the early 1990s is not solely the result of reduced fecundity. ?? 2008 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Decline in bloater fecundity in Southern Lake Michigan after decline of Diporeia