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Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Natural Resource Management

First Advisor

Mellssa R. Wuellner


Knowledge of spatiotemporal trends in population fluctuations and drivers of yellow perch Perca flavescens early life history dynamics is important for ecological understanding and applied management in an aut- and synecological context. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to: 1) estimate the extent of spatial synchrony in production of larval yellow perch; 2) estimate the influence of climatological and hydrological factors on larval perch density, 3) estimate the influence of biotic and abiotic factors on recruitment and growth dynamics of fall age-0 perch; and 4) estimate the potential impact of predation by smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu on recruitment of age-0 perch across a range of eastern South Dakota glacial lakes. Production of larval yellow perch was moderately synchronous among spatially segregated systems and variation in larval density was influenced by the Moran Effect during the post-egg mass emergence period. Specifically, increased production of larval yellow perch corresponded with increased water levels, warmer air temperatures, and low wind speed. Biotic factors were more influential than abiotic factors over recruitment and growth dynamics of fall age-0 yellow perch. Results suggest compensatory density-dependent regulation of recruitment via potential competition and predation, and growth via potential intraspecific competition. Weekly production of age-0 yellow perch ranged from 0.32 kg/ha/week to 1.78 kg/ha/week. Estimates of smallmouth bass consumption measured during the same intervals ranged from 0.06 kg/ha/week to 0.33 kg/ha/week, equating to consumption of between 1 and 34% of available yellow perch biomass. Given current conditions relative to smallmouth bass abundance and consumption dynamics, production of age-0 yellow perch, and the thermal environment, it does not appear that bass act as a singular factor limiting recruitment of age-0 perch in my study lakes. Overall, results of this study demonstrate the complexities involved with understanding recruitment processes of yellow perch. There is likely a complex interaction of the variables I examined, along with other unconsidered variables, that act to limit perch recruitment in these systems. These interactions ultimately add complexity to the management of yellow perch. Nonetheless, results provide further insight to the patterns and process that structure yellow perch populations in South Dakota glacial lakes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Yellow perch -- South Dakota
Recruitment (Population biology) -- South Dakota
Smallmouth bass -- South Dakota
Predation (Biology) -- South Dakota


Includes bibliographical references (pages 87-101)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2014. Daniel Jay Dembkowski. All rights reserved.