Bioenergetics modeling can be used as a tool to investigate the impact of non-native age-0 American shad (Alosa sapidissima) on reservoir and estuary food webs. The model can increase our understanding of how these fish influence lower trophic levels as well as predatory fish populations that feed on juvenile salmonids. Bioenergetics modeling can be used to investigate ecological processes, evaluate alternative research hypotheses, provide decision support, and quantitative prediction. Bioenergetics modeling has proven to be extremely useful in fisheries research (Ney et al. 1993,Chips and Wahl 2008, Petersen et al. 2008). If growth and diet parameters are known, the bioenergetics model can be used to quantify the relative amount of zooplankton or insects consumed by age-0 American shad. When linked with spatial and temporal information on fish abundance, model output can guide inferential hypothesis development to demonstrate where the greatest impacts of age-0 American shad might occur.
Bioenergetics modeling is particularly useful when research questions involve multiple species and trophic levels (e.g. plankton communities). Bioenergetics models are mass-balance equations where the energy acquired from food is partitioned between maintenance costs, waste products, and growth (Winberg 1956). Specifically, the Wisconsin bioenergetics model (Hanson et al. 1997) is widely used in fisheries science. Researchers have extensively tested, reviewed, and improved on this modeling approach for over 30 years (Petersen et al. 2008). Development of a bioenergetics model for any species requires three key components: 1) determine physiological parameters for the model through laboratory experiments or incorporate data from a closely related species, 2) corroboration of the model with growth and consumption estimates from independent research, and 3) error analysis of model parameters.
Wisconsin bioenergetics models have been parameterized for many of the salmonids and predatory fishes encountered in the lower Columbia River (Petersen and Ward 1999). The Wisconsin bioenergetics model has not been developed for American shad, however Limburg (1996) parameterized a simplified bioenergetics growth model for this species. A common application for the Wisconsin bioenergetics model is to estimate the consumption or growth of a fish population under different temperature and feeding scenarios (Ney 1993). One advantage of the bioenergetics approach is that consumption can be estimated without direct field measurements of predation rate (prey·predator-1· day-1; Petersen and Ward 1999). Field estimates of fish consumption are time consuming and costly to determine, and estimates may show wide variance due to environmental and sampling variability. However, the consumption parameters used in a newly developed bioenergetics model must be verified with field and laboratory estimates of consumption (Ney 1993).
The objective of this research was to parameterize a Wisconsin bioenergetics model for age-0 American shad using published physiological data on American shad and closely related alosine species. The American shad bioenergetics model will be used as a tool to explore various hypotheses about how age-0 American shad directly and indirectly affect Columbia River salmon through ecological interactions in lower Columbia River food webs. One over-arching focus of the larger research project was to identify potential interactions between age-0 American shad and juvenile salmonids, addressing potential outcomes through bioenergetics modeling scenarios. This report contains two bioenergetics modeling applications to demonstrate how these models can be used to address management questions and direct research effort. The first modeling application uses the American shad bioenergetics model described in this report to explore prey consumption by age-0 American shad (Chapter 1, this report). Dietary data on age-0 American shad and previously published reports on the diet of juvenile fall Chinook salmon (Rondorf et al. 1990, USGS unpublished data) suggested there might be considerable dietary overlap between these species in the lower Columbia River. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) was interested in using the American shad bioenergetics model to explore hypotheses concerning dietary overlap between age-0 American shad and emigrating fall Chinook salmon. The second modeling application uses the fall Chinook salmon bioenergetics model (Koehler et al. 2006) to explore the growth potential of juvenile fall Chinook salmon predating on age-0 American shad in the lower Columbia River. This modeling was based dietary information on a small number of age-0 fall Chinook salmon (n = 13) collected in John Day Reservoir in 1994 - 1996 (unpublished USGS data). Analysis of this dietary data found that these salmonids were feeding primarily on age-0 American shad (> 75% by weight).