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Survival, movement, and health of hatchery-raised juvenile Lost River suckers within a mesocosm in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon

January 28, 2016

The recovery of endangered Lost River suckers (Deltistes luxatus) in Upper Klamath Lake is limited by poor juvenile survival and failure to recruit into the adult population. Poor water quality, degradation of rearing habitat, and toxic levels of microcystin are hypothesized to contribute to low juvenile survival. Studies of wild juvenile suckers are limited in that capture rates are low and compromised individuals are rarely captured in passive nets. The goal of this study was to assess the use of a mesocosm for learning about juvenile survival, movement, and health. Hatchery-raised juvenile Lost River suckers were PIT (passive integrated transponder) tagged and monitored by three vertically stratified antennas. Fish locations within the mesocosm were recorded at least every 30 minutes and were assessed in relation to vertically stratified water-quality conditions. Vertical movement patterns were analyzed to identify the timing of mortality for each fish. Most mortality occurred from July 28 to August 16, 2014. Juvenile suckers spent daylight hours near the benthos and moved throughout the entire water column during dark hours. Diel movements were not in response to dissolved-oxygen concentrations, temperature, or pH. Furthermore, low dissolved-oxygen concentrations, high temperatures, high pH, high un-ionized ammonia, or high microcystin levels did not directly cause mortality, although indirect effects may have occurred. However, water-quality conditions known to be lethal to juvenile Lost River suckers did not occur during the study period. Histological assessment revealed severe gill hyperplasia and Ichthyobodo sp. infestations in most moribund fish. For these fish, Ichthyobodo sp. was likely the cause of mortality, although it is unclear if this parasite originated in the rearing facility because fish were not screened for this parasite prior to introduction. This study has demonstrated that we can effectively use a mesocosm equipped with antennas to learn about the timing of mortality, movement, and health of PIT-tagged hatchery-raised juvenile Lost River suckers.

Publication Year 2016
Title Survival, movement, and health of hatchery-raised juvenile Lost River suckers within a mesocosm in Upper Klamath Lake, Oregon
DOI 10.3133/ofr20161012
Authors Danielle M. Hereford, Summer M. Burdick, Diane G. Elliott, Amari Dolan-Caret, Carla M. Conway, Alta C. Harris
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Open-File Report
Series Number 2016-1012
Index ID ofr20161012
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Fisheries Research Center