Otolith Microchemistry Reveals Natal Origins of Walleyes in Missouri River Reservoirs
Reproductive habitats are vital for sustaining fish populations, but their location and relative natal contributions are often unknown or poorly understood. We used otolith microchemistry to examine natal origins of Walleyes Sander vitreus in Missouri River reservoirs (i.e., Lake Oahe, Lake Sharpe, Lake Francis Case, and Lewis and Clark Lake) in North Dakota and South Dakota. Water Sr:Ca and Ba:Ca were spatially heterogeneous and temporally consistent in all impoundments. Otolith Sr:Ca and Ba:Ca from age-0 Walleyes permitted the reclassification of fish to known natal habitats (i.e., tributary, embayment, main stem) and individual sites with 87% and 75% accuracy, respectively. Natal contributions were highest in tributaries, particularly those in Lake Oahe, where 32% of all adults and 77% of Lake Oahe adults hatched. Embayments and main-stem environments had high natal contributions (67–78%) in Lakes Sharpe and Francis Case and Lewis and Clark Lake, where tributaries are less abundant. Our research demonstrates the utility of otolith microchemistry for measuring habitat- and site-specific natal contributions and provides further information that can be used in managing Walleyes in Missouri River reservoirs, particularly for broodstock collection, habitat protection and restoration, and harvest regulations.
North American Journal of Fisheries Management
DOI of Published Version
Taylor and Francis
Carlson, Andrew K.; Fincel, Mark J.; and Graeb, Brian D.S., "Otolith Microchemistry Reveals Natal Origins of Walleyes in Missouri River Reservoirs" (2016). Natural Resource Management Faculty Publications. 190.