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Size of age-0 crappies (Pomoxis spp.) relative to reservoir habitats and water levels

January 1, 2014

Variable year-class strength is common in crappie Pomoxis spp. populations in many reservoirs, yet the mechanisms behind this variability are poorly understood. Size-dependent mortality of age-0 fishes has long been recognized in the population ecology literature; however, investigations about the effects of environmental factors on age-0 crappie size are lacking. The objective of this study was to determine if differences existed in total length of age-0 crappies between embayment and floodplain habitats in reservoirs, while accounting for potential confounding effects of water level and crappie species. To this end, we examined size of age-0 crappies in four flood-control reservoirs in northwest Mississippi over 4years. Age-0 crappies inhabiting uplake floodplain habitats grew to a larger size than fish in downlake embayments, but this trend depended on species, length of time a reservoir was dewatered in the months preceding spawning, and reservoir water level in the months following spawning. The results from our study indicate that water-level management may focus not only on allowing access to quality nursery habitat, but that alternating water levels on a multiyear schedule could increase the quality of degraded littoral habitats.

Publication Year 2014
Title Size of age-0 crappies (Pomoxis spp.) relative to reservoir habitats and water levels
DOI 10.1080/02705060.2014.923791
Authors Levi J. Kaczka, Leandro E. Miranda
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Freshwater Ecology
Index ID 70150431
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Coop Res Unit Atlanta