Eggs stripped from lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) spawning in Lake Michigan were incubated in the laboratory at temperatures similar to those on whitefish spawning grounds in Lake Michigan during December-April. Observed times from fertilization to attainment of each of 21 developmental stages were used to test a model that predicts the rate of development at daily fluctuating temperatures; the model relates rate of development for any given stage j, expressed as the reciprocal of time (Rj), to temperature (T). The generalized equation for a developmental stage is Rj = abTcT??.
Observed times agreed well (5.5% mean difference for all stages) with times predicted by the model; the observed time of 135 days from fertilization to hatching (stage 21) was only 5 days (3.7%) less than the predicted time of 140 days. The model was further verified by applying it to unpublished data supplied by the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, for eggs from Lake Huron whitefish incubated in the laboratory in untempered Lake Huron water.
The model was used to predict the effects of small temperature increases (caused by a hypothetical waste-heat discharge) on the rate of development and time of hatching of lake whitefish eggs. According to this simulation, continuous addition of waste heat sufficient to raise the temperature 1, 2, or 3 C above ambient on the spawning grounds during December-April would advance the time of hatching 8, 16, or 21 days, respectively. Possible effects of this advancement on the reproductive success of whitefish are discussed.
Additional publication details
Federal Government Series
Verification of a model for predicting the effect of inconstant temperature on embryonic development of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis)