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Movement ecology of diploid and triploid grass carp in a large reservoir and upstream tributaries

March 8, 2023

Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella, is an herbivorous fish originally brought to North America from Asia in 1963 to control nuisance aquatic vegetation. Since their arrival, detrimental alterations to aquatic ecosystems have sometimes occurred in waterways where they were initially stocked and into which they have escaped. The movements of grass carp from lentic systems into tributaries required for spawning is poorly understood, and understanding environmental conditions associated with upstream migrations may aid in management of the species. We stocked 43 fertile diploid and 43 sterile triploid grass carp implanted with acoustic transmitters into Truman Reservoir, Missouri, USA between January 2017 and October 2018 to characterize movements during spring and summer when spawning conditions occur. Twenty fish (11 diploid/9 triploid) exhibited upstream migration behavior in the Osage River, a major tributary, in 2018 and 2019. Migration primarily occurred in April and May, during high discharge events associated with increasing river stage when water temperatures were between 15 and 28°C. Observed migrations ranged from 3.0–108 river km in length, and six individuals were observed making multiple upstream migrations in one season. Eleven fish initiated upstream migrations while in the lentic main body of the reservoir. These findings provide some evidence for upstream migrations by diploid and triploid grass carp as well both lake and river residents. Evidence of similar upstream migration behavior by both diploid and triploid grass carp suggests that triploids may be suitable surrogates for diploids for study of movement ecology. Removal efforts in tributaries targeting periods of increasing river stage during spring may provide the best opportunity of encountering large concentrations of grass carp.

Publication Year 2023
Title Movement ecology of diploid and triploid grass carp in a large reservoir and upstream tributaries
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0281128
Authors Tyler Michael Hessler, Duane Chapman, Craig Paukert, Jeff C. Jolley, Michael E. Byrne
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title PLoS ONE
Index ID 70250979
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center; Coop Res Unit Leetown