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Growth characteristics and otolith analysis on age-0 American shad

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Abstract

Otolith microstructure analysis provides useful information on the growth history of fish (Campana and Jones 1992, Bang and Gronkjaer 2005). Microstructure analysis can be used to construct the size-at-age growth trajectory of fish, determine daily growth rates, and estimate hatch date and other ecologically important life history events (Campana and Jones 1992, Tonkin et al. 2008). This kind of information can be incorporated into bioenergetics modeling, providing necessary data for estimating prey consumption, and guiding the development of empirically-based modeling scenarios for hypothesis testing. For example, age-0 American shad co-occur with emigrating juvenile fall Chinook salmon originating from Hanford Reach and the Snake River in the lower Columbia River reservoirs during the summer and early fall. The diet of age-0 American shad appears to overlap with that of juvenile fall Chinook salmon (Chapter 1, this reoprt), but juvenile fall Chinook salmon are also known to feed on age-0 American shad in the reservoirs (USGS unpublished data). Abundant, energy-dense age-0 American shad may provide juvenile fall Chinook salmon opportunities for rapid growth during the time period when large number of age-0 American shad are available. Otolith analysis of hatch dates and the growth curve of age-0 American shad could be used to identify when eggs, larvae, and juveniles of specific size classes are temporally available as food for fall Chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River reservoirs. This kind of temporally and spatially explicit life history information is important to include in bioenergetics modeling scenarios. Quantitive estimates of prey consumption could be used with spatially-explicit estimates of prey abundance to construct a quantitative assessment of the age-0 American shad impact on a reservoir food web.</p> <br/> <p>Analysis of the age-0 American shad growth trajectory or individual growth records may show evidence of differential growth rates over time that may be linked to environmental conditions such as water temperature (Leach and Houde 1999, Meekan et al. 2003), size-selective mortality (Folkvord et al. 1997), developmental changes in metabolic rate (Bang and Gronkjaer 2005, Bochdanksy et al. 2005), feeding ability (Schmitt and Holbrook 1984, Luecke 1986, Johnson and Dropkin 1995, Johnson and Dropkin 1996), and intra- and inter-specific competition (Crecco and Savoy 1987, Marchand and Boisclair 1998, Gadomski and Wagner 2009). For example, environmental conditions associated with John Day reservoir may eliminate or reduce the availability of many aquatic and terrestrial insect prey types (Rondorf et al. 1990). Many juvenile fishes, including age-0 American shad and juvenile fall Chinook salmon may be foraging on limited insect prey in John Day Reservoir (Gadomski and Wagner 2009). Because larger insect prey has higher energy densities than most zooplankton prey, and insect availability may be limited in John Day reservoir, the growth of American shad may be constrained once fish grow to a size where they could exploit larger, more energy-dense insect prey (Mayer and Wahl 1997).</p> <br/> <p>Similarly, as age-0 American shad grow, they are able to forage on larger zooplankton with higher energy densities than smaller individuals of the same species, or other smaller-bodied zooplankton species (Schael et al. 1991, Mayer and Wahl 1997). Intra- and inter-specific demand for larger-bodied and higher energy zooplankton prey may reduce the availability of these prey items (Tabor et al. 1996). Constrained growth increments on the otolith microstructure of juvenile American shad or other planktivorous fish could help identify important interactions between fishes that may be linked to the year class strength of age-0 American shad and prey partitioning in John Day reservoir.</p> <br/> <p>The objective of this study was to determine time of hatch and size-at-age of age-0 American shad in lower Columbia River reservoirs for use with the American shad and fall Chinook salmon bioenergetic models. Size-at-age data on age-0 American shad can be used to generate quantitative estimates of prey consumption with the American shad bioenergetics model. Otolith microstructure analysis was used to provide reference points on the temporal availability of early life stages and sizes of American shad in the reservoir (Limburg 1996a,b, Limburg et al. 1999). Additional analyses on the age-0 American shad growth trajectory in John Day reservoir may reveal differential growth patterns during the early life history of these fish that are linked to developmental differences between individual fish, transient environmental conditions, or food web constraints (Limburg 1996a).

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Additional publication details

Publication type Book chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Title Growth characteristics and otolith analysis on age-0 American shad
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher Western Fisheries Research Center
Publisher location Portland, OR
Description 15 p.
Larger Work Type Book
Larger Work Title Growth characteristics and otolith analysis on age-0 American shad
Country United States
Other Geospatial Columbia River and Snake River
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N