Stocking Threadfin Shad: Consequences for Young-of-Year Fishes
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Citation:DeVries, Dennis R.; Stein, Roy A.; Miner, Jeffrey G.; Mittelbach, Gary G. "Stocking Threadfin Shad: Consequences for Young-of-Year Fishes," Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, v. 120, no. 3, May, 1991, pp. 368-381.
Threadfin shad Dorosoma petenense are commonly introduced into reservoirs to supplement prey available to piscivorous fishes. To determine how early life stages of threadfin shad and their potential competitors and predators interact, we introduced this species into two Ohio lakes—Clark and Stonelick—and evaluated how its young of year influenced young-of-year bluegills Lepomis macrochirus and largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides. After adults were stocked in April, peak abundance of young-of-year threadfin shad occurred in August in both lakes. Bluegills generally spawned earlier than threadfin shad, which apparently reduced competition between young of these species. In Clark Lake, young-of-year threadfin shad did not reduce zooplankton populations, but in Stonelick Lake, peak abundance of young-of-year threadfin shad was followed by a precipitous decline in zooplankton. Data on cladoceran birth rates indicated this decline was due to increased predation by threadfin shad. Survival of bluegills to a size at which they move into the littoral zone also declined in Stonelick Lake, perhaps because of the virtual elimination of zooplankton. Limited survival of bluegills in turn contributed to reduced growth of young-of-year largemouth bass dependent on them as prey. Given that zooplankton declined in one but not the other lake, interactions among young-of-year fishes due to annually introduced threadfin shad will likely vary among systems and years. Nonetheless, introduced threadfin shad could, in some systems in some years, negatively affect growth and recruitment of the very species they were meant to enhance.
This work was funded in part by National Science Foundation grants NSF BSR-8705518 to R. A. Stein and NSF BSR-8715730 to G. G. Mittelbach, and by Federal Aid in Fish Restoration Project F-57-R awarded to R. A. Stein and administered through the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
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