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Wednesday, January 27 • 10:40am - 11:00am
Predator and Prey: Comparing Larval Yellow Perch Selection and Response To Varying Prey Communities Across Multiple Systems

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AUTHORS: Darrin McCullough*, Michigan State University; Dan Hayes, Michigan State University

ABSTRACT: Yellow perch Perca flavescens are widely distributed across North America where they inhabit a variety of aquatic ecosystems while playing an ecologically and economically significant role as both predator and prey. Like many fishes, successful recruitment of yellow perch depends on the availability of suitable densities and sizes of zooplankton prey at critical early life history periods. Thus, evaluation of prey selection and functional feeding response to prey communities may lend insight into processes driving year class strength. In order to assess the role of prey selectivity and functional feeding response, we collected larval yellow perch and zooplankton across a variety of lakes in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The size structure of zooplankton taxa (e.g., Bosmina, cyclopoid copepods) was quite consistent across systems, but zooplankton densities varied widely both within and between lakes. Prey selection and functional response varied between small mesotrophic lakes and larger oligotrophic lakes. The larger lakes also had established populations of non-native species such as the spiny water flea, dreissenid mussels, and rainbow smelt, which can have far reaching consequences to successful yellow perch recruitment.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 10:40am - 11:00am EST
Atrium