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    Author(s): Rory Saunders; Michael A. Bozek; Clayton J. Edwards; Martin J. Jennings; Steven P. Newman
    Date: 2002
    Source: American Fisheries Society Symposium 31:123-134
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: North Central Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1.94 MB)


    Evaluating spawning success in relation to habitat characteristics of nests sites provides critical information necessary to assess the effects riparian and littoral zone habitat alterations have on smallmouth bass Micropterus dolomieu survival and recruitment. The objective of this study was to quantitatively evaluate smallmouth bass nest site quality in lakes in order to evaluate the importance habitat features have on nesting success. We evaluated smallmouth bass eggs survival and fry production as a function of nest characteristics in four northern Wisconsin lakes from 1998 to 2000 using simple and multiple linear regression analyses. Mean smallmouth bass egg survival and fry production were significantly different (analysis of variance [ANOVA]) among lakes; nests in Big Crooked and Bear Lakes had higher egg survival and fry production than Pallette and Sanford Lakes. Relations were variable among lakes, indicating that no simple habitat feature consistently predicted nest success across lakes. Habitat features accounted for up to 27 percent (distance to nest cover) of the variation in egg survival and 50 percent (diameter of nearest log cover) on the variation in fry production. Measures of substrate size were the most predominant nest characteristic associated with variation in both egg survival and fry production among lakes but they were not significant in all lakes. Other features related to nest cover, nest position, and morphology explained some variation in egg survival and fry production but they were inconsistent across lakes. This study shows that habitat characteristics affecting smallmouth bass nesting success are extremely variable across lakes and will require further study to elucidate how habitat quality influences nesting success.

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    Saunders, Rory; Bozek, Michael A.; Edwards, Clayton J.; Jennings, Martin J.; Newman, Steven P. 2002. Habitat Features Affecting Smallmouth Bass Micropterus dolomieu Nesting Success in Four Northern Wisconsin Lakes. American Fisheries Society Symposium 31:123-134

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