Predicting How Winter Affects Energetics of Age-0 Largemouth Bass: How Do Current Models Fare?

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During the first winter of life, loss of energy reserves as a function of low feeding activity and scarce prey may contribute to high mortality of age-0 largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides. To explore how two current bioenergetics models predict winter energy depletion, we quantified growth and consumption by age-0 largemouth bass from Alabama, Ohio, and Wisconsin fed maintenance rations in 55-L aquaria in three simulated winters mimicking temperatures and photoperiods at low temperate latitudes (Alabama; 33N), middle latitudes (Ohio; 40N), and high temperate latitudes (Wisconsin; 46N).We compared observed growth in aquaria with that predicted by putting observed consumption into both models. During winter 1995–1996, we validated one of the models with a separate pool experiment (5,800-L) in which age-0 largemouth bass were fed either at 0.5 X or 1.5 X maintenance ration. In aquaria, energy density of the largemouth bass declined in the high- and middle- but not in the low-latitude winter. Though error was slight in the low- and middle-latitude winters for one of the models, both models underestimated growth in the high-latitude winter. To fit the model to the data, the function that estimates weight-specific resting metabolism had to be reduced by about 16%. In pools, where we predicted consumption from observed growth, the model adequately predicted consumption by largemouth bass fed 1.5 X maintenance, but overestimated consumption by 0.5 X maintenance individuals. Current bioenergetics models perform poorly at the cold temperatures (<6C), photoperiods, and low prey abundances typical of high-latitude lakes, likely because metabolic costs are overestimated.



age-0 largemouth bass, energetics, current models


Wright, Russell A.; Garvey, James E.; Fullerton, Aimee H.; Stein, Roy A. "Predicting How Winter Affects Energetics of Age-0 Largemouth Bass: How Do Current Models Fare?," Transactions of the American Fisheries Society, v. 128, no. 4, 1999, pp. 603-612.