RISING TEMPERATURES, DIMINISHING RETURNS: LAKE TEMPERATURE EFFECTS ON THE MASS OF LARVAL FISH CAUGHT WITHIN KENTUCKY LAKE.
Temperature is a major abiotic environmental factor that strongly influences phenology of larval fishes. In years when spring temperatures fluctuate from average, possible asynchrony between larval fish and critical food resources such as zooplankton could occur. In these sensitive life stages, stressors may influence survival and ultimately population demographics. The larval fish community was sampled in Kentucky Lake from April to May from 2014-2018. Samples were collected using tandem larval pushnets (net=0.5m^2, mesh=1mm). Fish were enumerated in the lab and identified to family. The dry masses of Gizzard Shad (the primary forage fish in this system) were collected from various size classes (5-15 millimeters). Using a regression analysis, a model was created to estimate the average biomass of larval Gizzard Shad. Lake temperature data was obtained from the Kentucky Long-Term Monitoring Program and data was used from the closest monitoring station to our sampling sites. The mean biomass of a larval Gizzard Shad on a warmer year was <50% of the mean biomass on a colder year. With climate change, predicted increases in frequency of warmer springs could negatively affect the recruitment of fishes into the Kentucky Lake system.
Christy Soldo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Murray State University, email@example.com;
Nathan Tillotston (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Murray State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Benjamin Tumolo (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Montana State University, email@example.com;
Michael Flinn (Co-Presenter/Co-Author), Murray State University, firstname.lastname@example.org;
Spencer Phillips (Primary Presenter/Author), Murray State University , email@example.com;