Thermal ecology of subadult and adult muskellunge in a thermally enriched reservoir

Fisheries Management and Ecology
By:  and 



The movement of adult muskellunge, Esox masquinongy Mitchill, has been investigated in a variety of systems, but temperature selection by muskellunge has not been examined where well-oxygenated waters were available over a range of temperatures for much of the year. Thirty subadult and adult muskellunge tagged internally with temperature-sensing radio tags were tracked from March 2010 to March 2011 in a Tennessee reservoir. Mean tag temperatures were 18.9 °C in spring (March to May), 22.1 °C in summer (June to August), 16.5 °C in autumn and 9.8 °C in winter (December to February). When the greatest range in water temperatures was available (7.1–33.3 °C; May to early August 2010), their realised thermal niche (mean ± 1 SD) was 22.3 °C ± 1.8; the realised thermal niche was affected by fish size (smaller fish selected slightly warmer temperatures) but not sex. An electric generating steam plant discharging warm water resumed operation in January 2011, and most (86%) tagged fish occupied the plume where temperatures were ≈10 °C warmer than ambient water temperatures. No mortalities were observed 15 days later when plant operations ceased. Their affinity for the heated plume prompted concerns that muskellunge will be too easily exploited when the plant operates during winter.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Thermal ecology of subadult and adult muskellunge in a thermally enriched reservoir
Series title Fisheries Management and Ecology
DOI 10.1111/fme.12093
Volume 21
Issue 5
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Coop Res Unit Atlanta
Description 11 p.
First page 410
Last page 420
Country United States
State Tennessee
Other Geospatial Melton Hill Lake
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N