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Suitability of Lake Erie for bigheaded carps based on bioenergetic models and remote sensing

September 18, 2015

Algal blooms in the Great Lakes are a potential food source for silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis; together bigheaded carps). Understanding these blooms thus plays an important role in understanding the invasion potential of bigheaded carps. We used remote sensing imagery, temperatures, and improved species specific bioenergetics models to determine algal concentrations sufficient for adult bigheaded carps. Depending on water temperature we found that bigheaded carp require between 2 and 7 μg/L chlorophyll or between 0.3 and 1.26 × 105cells/mL Microcystis to maintain body weight. Algal concentrations in the western basin and shoreline were found to be commonly several times greater than the concentrations required for weight maintenance. The remote sensing images show that area of sufficient algal foods commonly encompassed several hundred square kilometers to several thousands of square kilometers when blooms form. From 2002 to 2011, mean algal concentrations increased 273%–411%. This indicates Lake Erie provides increasingly adequate planktonic algal food for bigheaded carps. The water temperatures and algal concentrations detected in Lake Erie from 2008 to 2012 support positive growth rates such that a 4 kg silver carp could gain between 19 and 57% of its body weight in a year. A 5 kg bighead carp modeled at the same water temperatures could gain 20–81% of their body weight in the same period. The remote sensing imagery and bioenergetic models suggest that bigheaded carps would not be food limited if they invaded Lake Erie.

Publication Year 2015
Title Suitability of Lake Erie for bigheaded carps based on bioenergetic models and remote sensing
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2015.03.029
Authors Karl R. Anderson, Duane Chapman, Timothy Wynne, Karthik Masagounder, Craig P. Paukert
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Great Lakes Research
Index ID 70157350
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Columbia Environmental Research Center; Coop Res Unit Atlanta