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Relationships between zooplankton abundance and age-0 black crappie abundance and size at three productive Florida lakes

University of Florida Institutional Repository

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RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ZOOPLANKTON ABUNDANCE AND AGE-0 BLACK CRAPPIE ABUNDANCE AND SIZE AT THREE PRODUCTIVE FLORIDA LAKES By KEVIN J. DOCKENDORF A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF SCIENCE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2002

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Copyright 2002 by Kevin J. Dockendorf

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To my parents, Tom and Helen.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Mike Allen, for his assistance and mentoring on this project. I am grateful for the opportunity to complete a research project with his guidance and motivation. I would also like to thank the members of my graduate committee, Dr. Tom Frazer, Dr. Debra Murie, and Mr. Gary Warren, for their input and advice on this project from the proposal to the thesis defense. Thanks go to M. Bledsoe, T. Bonvechio, P. Cooney, T. Glancy, J. Greenawalt, K. Henry, A. Hester, C. Horsburgh, M. Hale, M. Hoyer, B. Hujik, G. Kaufman, J. Kline, C. Mwatela, E. Nagid, D. Parkyn, B. Pine, M. Rogers, B. Tate, K. Tugend, and P. Wheeler for their assistance on this project. I greatly appreciated their time and efforts in the field, lab, and/or presentation practices. Funding for this project was provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management. I am grateful for the love and support from my family and fiance, Pamela. Their patience and reassurance helped generate the confidence and motivation to complete this project. iv

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES.............................................................................................................vi LIST OF FIGURES..........................................................................................................vii ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................viii INTRODUCTION...............................................................................................................1 METHODS..........................................................................................................................6 Study Sites......................................................................................................................6 Age-0 Black Crappie Collection.....................................................................................6 Lab Work-up...................................................................................................................8 Adult Abundance............................................................................................................8 Zooplankton Density.......................................................................................................9 Diet Analysis...................................................................................................................9 Analyses........................................................................................................................10 RESULTS..........................................................................................................................12 DISCUSSION....................................................................................................................31 MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS.................................................................................38 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................40 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................46 v

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 1 Annual mean levels of chlorophyll a (Chl a), total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), and secchi depth (cm) of Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg for 2000 and 2001.................................................................................................................29 2 Pearson correlations between fall juvenile black crappie abundance (October age-0 CPM) and both larval density (fish/1000 m 3 ) and juvenile abundance (May CPM) in the three study lakes (N).........................................................................30 vi

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 Location of study lakes in Florida.........................................................................19 2 Mean ( 1 SE) larval densities (a and b panels) as estimated from neuston net catches and small trawl catch per minute (CPM) (c and d panels) across sample months in 2000 and 2001 at Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg..................20 3 Large trawl catch per minute (mean 1 SE) of juvenile black crappie during fall of 2000 and 2001. Sample size (n = number of trawls) is indicated.....................21 4 Relative length frequency distributions for age-0 black crappie in Lakes Wauburg, Tarpon, and Lochloosa in 2000 and 2001..............................................................22 5 Regression between log 10 adult black crappie catch-per-minute (CPM) prior to spawning and log 10 juvenile black crappie CPM during May 2000 and 2001 in Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg...............................................................23 6 Log 10 crustacean zooplankton (copepods and cladocerans) densities ( 1 SE ) in Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg for each sample month in 2000 and 2001. Mean densities with no error bars indicate low variance in those months............24 7 Log 10 crustacean zooplankton ( 0.6 mm) mean densities ( 1 SE) in Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg during sample months in 2000 and 2001........25 8 Age-0 black crappie selectivity (mean 1 SE; Chesson 1978) for zooplankton taxa in 2000 on Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg. The solid line represents neutral selection.................................................................................................................26 9 Log 10 number of large crustacean zooplankton (LC) in diets of age-0 black crappie in May 2000 (top panel) and 2001 (bottom panel). Points indicate individual fish. Lines represent regression equations and the fish size range for each lake.................................................................................................................27 10 Proportion of age-0 black crappie diets containing crustacean zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish during May, August, and October 2000 and 2001. No age-0 black crappie were sampled during August 2000 from Lake Tarpon....28 vii

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Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ZOOPLANKTON ABUNDANCE AND AGE-0 BLACK CRAPPIE ABUNDANCE AND SIZE AT THREE PRODUCTIVE FLORIDA LAKES By Kevin J. Dockendorf December 2002 Chair: Dr. Micheal S. Allen Major Department: Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences Crappies Pomoxis spp. are valuable sportfish but are often difficult to manage due to highly variable recruitment. I investigated relations between zooplankton abundance and larval and juvenile black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus abundance and size at three Florida lakes. Age-0 black crappie were collected at Lakes Wauburg, Lochloosa, and Tarpon using surface and bottom trawls during spring, summer, and fall 2000 and 2001. Zooplankton abundance was measured concurrent with trawl sampling. In both fall seasons, juvenile crappie were larger at Lake Tarpon than at Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg. However, age-0 black crappie abundance and summer crustacean zooplankton densities were higher at Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg than at Lake Tarpon in both years. The lack of a relationship between crustacean zooplankton density and black crappie size across lakes suggests that age-0 black crappie abundance and size may not be related to zooplankton abundance in natural productive Florida lakes. In this study, fall viii

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abundance of age-0 black crappie was highly correlated with early summer abundance, suggesting that year-class strength was set by early summer in the study lakes. Early summer juvenile abundance predicted age-0 black crappie fall abundance more effectively than larval fish density in the spring. Adult abundance and abiotic variables (e.g., water clarity) influenced age-0 black crappie abundance and size more than crustacean zooplankton abundance. ix

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INTRODUCTION Recruitment can be defined as an addition of young individuals to an adult fish population (Everhart and Youngs 1981). Abundance of young fish is subject to environmental factors such as habitat variation and food availability, along with biotic interactions including predation and competition that may affect recruitment (Sigler and Sigler 1990). Due to highly variable recruitment and subsequent fishing quality, fisheries managers have found it difficult to manage crappies, Pomoxis spp. (Allen and Miranda 1995). Studies that reveal factors influencing recruitment may allow fishery managers to predict year-class strength and improve fisheries via harvest restrictions, particularly with important sport fish such as black crappie P nigromaculatus and white crappie P annularis (Maceina et al. 1991). Previous investigations have evaluated variability of crappie recruitment due to abiotic factors such as water-level fluctuations, turbidity, wind, and temperature in lakes and reservoirs (Beam 1983; Guy and Willis 1995; Mitzner 1995). Maceina and Stimpert (1998) found that short winter (<10 days) and long post winter (> 11 days) retention times in Alabama reservoirs interacted to produce strong crappie year classes. High water level increased crappie year-class strength in a Kansas reservoir (Beam 1983). Coves may have provided shelter from the wind for larval crappies (Fisher 1997; Pope and Willis 1998), thus creating nursery areas. Wind and subsequent sediment resuspension increased turbidity (Bachmann et al. 2000), thereby reducing visibility and foraging success of many larval fish including crappie (Mitzner 1995; Claramunt and 1

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2 Wahl 2000). Variable water temperatures may have also influenced recruitment. Cool water temperatures (~17 C) during spring reduced growth rates of early-hatched black crappie within a Florida lake (Pine and Allen 2001). Similarly, high water temperatures (>27 C) may constrain crappie growth during summer, likely due to increases in metabolic rates (Hayward and Arnold 1996). Stock-recruitment dynamics may also explain recruitment variation among fish populations (Myers 1997). Generally, as adult stock abundance increases, the number of recruits produced increases and then may reach an asymptote (Beverton-Holt model) or begin to decline (Ricker model). Often, this relationship is subject to variability and not clearly defined (Royce 1996). Allen and Miranda (1998) found significant Ricker-type stock-recruit relations between the number of adult crappie and the number of juvenile crappie in four southern U.S. reservoirs. Adult yellow perch Perca flavescens abundance was related to the abundance of age-0 yellow perch, but no stock-recruit relationship was determined in Crystal Lake, WI (Sanderson et al. 1999). Food availability, predation, and competition also influence recruitment (Garvey and Stein 1998). Foraging success of larval fish is dependent upon availability of zooplankton that are equal or less than larval gape for many fish including crappies (Miller et al. 1988; Schael et al. 1991; DeVries et al. 1998). Suitable prey availability for larval and juvenile fish can strongly influence growth and survival to adulthood (Welker et al. 1994). For example, greater condition was observed in larval striped bass Morone saxatilis reared in aquaria with high-prey densities than larvae reared in low-prey density containers (Chick and Van Den Ayvle 2000). In general, larger larvae may catch more prey due to increases in swimming speed and gape size, thus contributing to survival and

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3 subsequent growth (Miller et al. 1988). Therefore, a lack of adequate prey may directly lead to starvation of larval fish or may indirectly lead to mortality of larval fish subject to a longer exposure to predators (Partridge and DeVries 1999). Limited food resources may occur when larval and juvenile fish have high diet overlap in food selection, potentially reducing larval survival (Welker et al. 1994; Garvey and Stein 1998). Subtle differences in growth and survival, as a consequence of variations in food resources, can have potentially profound effects on fish recruitment (Houde 1989). Early life history and diet habits of crappie have been previously documented. Black crappie and white crappie spawn in water temperatures ranging between 15 C and 20 C (Siefert 1968; Mitzner 1991), which generally occur from February to early May in Florida lakes (Hoyer and Canfield 1994; Pine and Allen 2001). Swim-up is initiated in the littoral region between 2 and 4 days post-hatch depending on water temperature (Siefert 1968). After swim-up, larval crappies move from the littoral region to the pelagic zone (OBrien et al. 1984). Following absorption of the yolk sac, larval crappie up to 8-mm total length (TL) feed primarily on copepod nauplii, whereas crappie 8-14 mm TL consume both copepods and cladocerans (Siefert 1968; Pope and DeVries 1994). Larval crappie greater than 10 mm TL are usually not limited by gape, but selected prey size may be less than maximum gape width due to foraging and digestion efficiency (Schael et al. 1991; DeVries et al. 1998). Crappies primarily forage during daylight hours (Hanson and Qadri 1984) using a saltatory search method (i.e., swim and pause; Browman and OBrien 1992). Juvenile black crappie (15-40 mm TL) feed primarily on large zooplankton such as Daphnia spp. and calanoid copepods (Pine and Allen 2001). Crappies between 60 and 160 mm TL continue to select for large zooplankton, but also

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4 consume macroinvertebrates, such as dipteran larvae, ephemeropterans, and odonates (Siefert 1968; Tucker 1972). Crappies above 160 mm TL continue to forage on macroinvertebrates and may switch to small fish as prey (Siefert 1968; Ellison 1984). Ontogenetic diet shifts often regulate fish survival through early life. For example, largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides with higher feeding efficiency on zooplankton and invertebrates exhibited faster growth rates and shifted to piscivory earlier than fish with poor feeding efficiency on zooplankton and invertebrates (Olson 1996). Consequently, Olson (1996) suggested that an early shift to piscivory was important for juvenile largemouth bass growth and survival. Ludsin and DeVries (1997) described complex largemouth bass recruitment dynamics with factors such as hatching duration, ontogenetic shifts, lipid accumulation, and first winter survival interacting to influence survival. Ludsin and DeVries (1997) emphasized the importance of following a species throughout developmental stages to describe variables influencing recruitment. Recently, trawls have been used in reservoirs and natural lakes to sample larval (Pope and Willis 1996; Sammons and Bettoli 1998) and juvenile and adult crappies (Pine 2000). Where applicable, trawls allow sampling crappies through larval and juvenile life stages, which until recently have not been evaluated (Pine and Allen 2001). In addition, no previous studies have compared multiple natural lakes to assess factors influencing black crappie recruitment. I investigated the early life history of black crappie at three natural, productive Florida lakes and evaluated factors that potentially influence their recruitment. The objectives of this study were fourfold: 1) to compare the abundance and size distributions of larval and juvenile black crappie at each lake, 2) to assess the relationship between

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5 adult stock abundance and juvenile black crappie catch rates, 3) to quantitatively assess and compare the abundance of potential zooplankton prey within each lake, and 4) to investigate the relationship between prey abundance and relative year-class strength among the three study lakes. I expected age-0 black crappie size and abundance to increase with density of preferred-size zooplankton and black crappie stock abundance to be related to age-0 black crappie abundance among lakes.

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METHODS Study Lakes Lake location and physical and chemical parameters are shown in Figure 1 and Table 1, respectively. Lake Wauburg is a 150-ha natural, hypereutrophic lake that exhibits relatively stable and high black crappie recruitment (M. Allen, unpublished data). Lake Lochloosa is a 2,286-ha natural, hypereutrophic lake that had variable black crappie recruitment that was lower in the mid 1990's than later years (M. Allen, unpublished data). Lake Tarpon is a 1,030-ha natural, eutrophic lake and has historically sustained a quality black crappie fishery, yet abundance of recruits is often low (M. Allen, unpublished data). Lake trophic state was determined with criteria developed by Forsberg and Ryding (1980). Age-0 Black Crappie Collection Larval ( 15 mm TL) and juvenile (16 to 190 mm TL) black crappie were sampled at Lakes Wauburg, Lochloosa, and Tarpon from February to October in 2000 and 2001 to determine abundance and size structure. Five open-water sites were marked with a Garmin III GPS unit and used for each sampling event. On all three lakes, crappie larvae were collected with a neuston net (1x2-m 2 mouth, 4-m bag, 1-mm mesh; Sammons and Bettoli 1998) towed from a 6.7-m boat equipped with a 70-HP outboard motor. Neuston net samples were conducted between 0900 and 1400 hours three times per month (every 10 days) in 2000 and twice per month (every two weeks) in 2001. At each site, the neuston net was pulled once at a speed of ~1.0 m/s for three minutes to minimize net 6

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7 clogging. The trawl path was offset from the boat path in an attempt to reduce net avoidance by larval fish due to prop wash. A General Oceanics flowmeter was mounted in the net mouth to estimate the water volume sampled to determine larval crappie density (fish/1000 m 3 ). At the end of each tow, samples were rinsed from the cod end, fixed in 10% formalin, and returned to the laboratory for analysis. Neuston netting for larval black crappie ( 15 mm TL) was initiated in late February of each year and continued until black crappie larvae were no longer caught in the trawl for three consecutive sampling trips. Surface water temperature and dissolved oxygen were measured once at the first site on each sample date. When black crappie > 15 mm TL were collected in the neuston net, I used a small otter trawl to collect juvenile black crappie (3.7 m mouth, 4.6 m body, 8.4 mm bar mesh throat, 6.4 mm bar mesh bag; Pine and Allen 2001). At each fixed site, the small otter trawl was deployed from the same vessel and towed once for three minutes at 1.0 m/s. Sampling was conducted twice a month in April, May, and June of both years and once a month in August 2000 and July, August, and September 2001. Age-0 black crappie collected with the small otter trawl were preserved in 10% formalin and transported to the lab. In October of both years, juvenile black crappie were sampled at the same sites using both the small trawl and also a larger otter trawl (4.6 m mouth, 4.9 m long, 38.1 mm bar mesh body, 31.8 mm bar mesh bag; Pine 2000) each pulled once at each site for three minutes. Both trawls were pulled because black crappie less than 100 mm TL may not be effectively collected with the large trawl (Pine 2000). The number of juvenile black crappie caught per minute (CPM) was used as an index of abundance for both

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8 bottom trawls. In all lakes, the number of large trawls pulled was increased to obtain adequate samples for size structure in October of both years, especially at Lake Tarpon. Black crappie were placed on ice and brought to the lab to extract otoliths. Black crappie collected in October were verified as age-0 by examining otoliths for lack of annuli. Lab Work-up At the laboratory, larval and juvenile black crappie were counted, measured to the nearest mm TL, and transferred to 95% alcohol for storage. Length-frequency distributions of age-0 black crappie across dates were used to describe size of black crappie through time at each lake. Up to 30 black crappie were subsampled in proportion to the length frequency distribution each month (Ludsin and DeVries 1997) and their stomachs were removed (OBrien et al. 1984) and opened under a dissecting microscope. Cladocerans were identified to genus whereas copepods were identified as calanoid, cyclopoid, or nauplii according to Pennak (1987). Macroinvertebrates were identified to family (Merritt and Cummins 1996) and undigested fish identified to lowest possible taxon (Holland-Bartels et al. 1990). All organisms were counted and up to twenty individuals of each taxon from each stomach were measured to the nearest 0.01 mm using a standardized ocular micrometer. Adult Abundance Adult black crappie ( 200 mm TL) were collected with the large trawl at all three lakes in October 1999 and 2000 to relate to juvenile abundance in 2000 and 2001. Fall CPM of black crappie 200 mm TL in 1999 and 2000 was used as an index of stock fish abundance prior to the production of the 2000 and 2001 year classes.

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9 Zooplankton Density Zooplankton were collected concurrent with each sampling event to assess potential prey abundance. Samples were taken using a Wisconsin-style plankton net (80-m mesh) raised vertically from the lake bottom to the surface at three of the five fixed trawl sites. Samples were concentrated and stored in 10% formalin. At the laboratory, samples were adjusted to a known volume and three 1-ml subsamples taken (Miranda and Gu 1998). Each 1-ml subsample was placed in a Sedgewick-Rafter counting cell and examined under a compound microscope equipped with an optical micrometer at 100X magnification (Pine and Allen 2001). All zooplankton were counted and up to 20 individuals of each taxon were measured to the nearest 0.01 mm. Cladocerans were identified to genus, copepods identified as calanoid, cyclopoid, or nauplii, and rotifers to genus using Pennak (1987). We determined zooplankton density (D) for each sample by: Dnvdss(*)(.*)00113 (1) where n s is the total number of organisms counted in the subsample, v s is the total volume of that sample in ml, d is the station depth (m), and 0.0113 is the mouth area (m 2 ) of the zooplankton net (Tugend and Allen 2000). Diet Analysis Selectivity analysis was performed to provide insight on the relationships between zooplankton availability and diet composition in black crappie on each date. Chessons alpha (Chesson 1978) was used to assess prey selectivity: (/)(/)rprpiiiiim (2)

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10 where r i is the proportion of the prey type i in the diet sample (in proportion to the total number of prey types in the diet sample), p i is the proportion of prey type i in the environment as determined from zooplankton counts, m is the number of prey types in the environment, and is the index of taxon selectivity. Alpha ranges from 0 to 1 where neutral selection is equal to 1/m, positive selection is greater than 1/m, and negative selection is less than 1/m. Analyses A repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test for differences between mean larval black crappie density (fish/1000 m 3 ) in the neuston net and mean catch-per-minute (CPM) with small otter trawl across months and lakes in both years. Data were log 10 -transformed after adding 0.001 to all values to homogenize the variances. In the analyses, lakes were considered fixed factors, sample months were treated as a time variable, and sample sites were treated as subjects. A least-squares means procedure was used to separate means if the lake, month, or lake*month interaction was significant in the repeated measures ANOVA. A one-way ANOVA was used to test for differences in mean CPM among lakes for age-0 black crappie sampled in October with the large otter trawl in both 2000 and 2001. The size structure of age-0 black crappie was described with length frequency histograms from bottom trawl collections made from April through October. In October, fish from the small and large trawls were combined to determine size structure of age-0 black crappie in the fall, because the large trawl may ineffectively sample juvenile black crappie less than 100 mm TL (Pine 2000). A Kolmogorov-Smirnov (KS) test was used to assess differences in the length frequencies of black crappie during October of each year. Correlations between larval density, early juvenile abundance, and fall age-0 abundance were determined for

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11 each year across lakes. Regression analysis was used to assess relations between adult black crappie (fish greater than 200 mm TL) abundance in October 1999 2000 (i.e., the fall prior to production of the 2000 and 2001 year classes) and early summer (May) juvenile abundance in both years at each of the three study lakes. To assess differences in prey abundance among lakes, repeated-measures ANOVA was used to test for differences in log 10 -transformed crustacean zooplankton density (org/L) using lakes and months as factors and the sites as subjects. Density of zooplankton taxa that were common in the diets of juvenile black crappie were also compared among lakes and sample months using repeated-measures ANOVA. An analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to determine differences in the number of large zooplankton consumed by age-0 black crappie from each lake during May of both years. Most age-0 black crappie collected in the small trawl in May were zooplanktivorous in all lakes. Age-0 black crappie diets containing zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish were analyzed using frequency of occurrence to assess potential diet shifts among lakes. All statistical analyses were conducted with SAS (1997) and statistical tests were considered significant when P < 0.05.

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RESULTS The timing of larval black crappie (i.e., 15 mm TL) first occurrence varied by lake and year. Larval black crappie were first collected at both Lakes Wauburg and Lochloosa on March 6, 2000. No larval black crappie were collected at Lake Tarpon in 2000. Catch of larval black crappie declined to zero by May 2000 at Lake Wauburg, but larval black crappie were collected with the neuston net at Lake Lochloosa through May of the same year (Figure 2a). In 2001, larval black crappie were first collected on February 19 at Lake Lochloosa, February 28 at Lake Wauburg, and only on March 2 at Lake Tarpon. Larval black crappie were collected until March 10 at Lake Wauburg, and until April 23 at Lake Lochloosa (Figure 2b). Thus, hatching duration may have been longer at Lake Lochloosa in both years as indicated by the extended catch of larval black crappie in the neuston net. Larval black crappie abundance varied among lakes in both years. The lake*month interaction on larval densities was significant in 2000 (F 6,36 = 3.27, P = 0.008) and 2001 (F 4,24 = 3.27, P = 0.0114). No larval black crappie were collected at Lake Tarpon in 2000. Larval densities were greater at Lake Lochloosa than Lake Wauburg in April 2000 (lsmeans P < 0.001, Figure 2a). Larval densities were greater at Lake Lochloosa than Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon in February and March 2001 (lsmeans P < 0.02, Figure 2b). Therefore, Lake Lochloosa generally had the highest larval density in the spring of both years, but differences were not consistent across months. 12

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13 The small otter trawl was used at all lakes starting in early April 2000 and 2001. Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant lake*month interaction in CPM during 2000 (F 7,34 = 2.82, P = 0.02). Lake Wauburg generally had a greater mean CPM in the small otter trawl than Lakes Lochloosa and Tarpon in 2000 (Figure 2c). Lake Tarpon had the lowest black crappie abundance as only 4 fish were collected during summer 2000 with the small otter trawl (N= 2 in April and May), resulting in mean CPM values below 0.2. Thus, summer abundance of juvenile black crappie was generally highest at Lake Wauburg and lowest at Lake Tarpon (Figure 2c). In 2001, juvenile black crappie were collected in all sample months beginning in April and continuing through October except at Lake Tarpon, where no fish were collected in June 2001. In 2001, the lake*month interaction was significant (F 11, 70 = 2.52, P = 0.0098) indicating that differences existed but were not consistent through time. For example, in May 2001, mean CPM was highest at Lake Wauburg and lowest at Lake Tarpon (Figure 2d). Conversely, mean CPM was highest at Lake Lochloosa, intermediate at Lake Wauburg, and lowest at Lake Tarpon in June 2001 (Figure 2d). Results from October sampling with the large otter trawl were indicative of the same differences in black crappie abundance among lakes as summer samples with the small otter trawl, i.e., Lake Wauburg exhibited a higher mean CPM than either Lake Lochloosa or Tarpon in both 2000 and 2001 (Figure 3). The one-way ANOVA revealed significant differences in mean black crappie CPM among all three lakes in both years (2000 F 2,64 = 159.8, P = <0.0001, 2001 F 2,83 = 69.21, P = <0.0001). Least squares means showed significant differences among lakes in both years (2000 P < 0.032, 2001 P <

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14 0.001). Thus, fall abundance of age-0 black crappie was highest at Lake Wauburg and lowest at Lake Tarpon in both years (Figure 3). Size of juvenile black crappie was generally largest at Lake Tarpon and smallest at Lake Lochloosa during 2000 and 2001. Size structure of age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon was not evident during summer 2000 due to low sample size (Figure 4). During June 2000, modal lengths were 7 and 5 cm at Lakes Wauburg and Lochloosa, respectively (Figure 4). This trend continued, and by October 2000, the modal lengths were 10 and 11 cm at Lake Wauburg and 9 cm at Lake Lochloosa (Figure 4). Thus, age-0 black crappie at Lake Wauburg appeared to be larger in fall 2000 than those at Lake Lochloosa (Figure 4). Size distribution was more variable in October at Lake Tarpon compared to the other two lakes, with age-0 black crappie ranging from 8 to 19 cm (Figure 4). Modal length of age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon was 13 cm. Thus, Lake Lochloosa had the smallest age-0 black crappie in the fall and Lake Tarpon the largest. In October 2000, age-0 black crappie were larger at Lake Tarpon (K-S = 4.16, P < 0.001) than Lake Wauburg and age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa were smaller than those at Lake Wauburg (K-S = 3.97, P < 0.001). Age-0 black crappie size structure in 2001 exhibited trends similar to those in 2000. In June 2001, Lake Wauburg modal lengths were 5 and 7 cm whereas Lake Lochloosa age-0 black crappie were mostly 5 cm. No age-0 black crappie were collected at Lake Tarpon during June 2001 (Figure 4). In October 2001, the modal lengths were 9 and 10 cm (range 8 to 12 cm) at Lake Wauburg and 8 cm (range 7 to 13 cm) at Lake Lochloosa (Figure 4). Lake Tarpon had a modal length of 10 cm with age-0 black crappie size ranging from 8 to 17 cm (Figure 4). In October 2001, age-0 black crappie were larger at

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15 Lake Tarpon (K-S = 3.56 P < 0.001) than Lake Wauburg, and age-0 black crappie at Lake Wauburg were larger than Lake Lochloosa (K-S = 7.96 P < 0.001). Thus, age-0 black crappie size was generally largest at Lake Tarpon and smallest at Lake Lochloosa in both years. Mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in May (calculated from small bottom trawl catches) effectively predicted fall age-0 black crappie abundance, but larval densities (as indicated in neuston samples) were not related with fall age-0 black crappie CPM. Juvenile black crappie CPM in May was highly correlated with fall age-0 black crappie CPM in both years (Table 2). However, larval densities were not correlated to fall abundance among lakes in either year (Table 2). The relationship between adult black crappie ( 200 mm TL) abundance prior to spawning and early juvenile abundance was marginally significant ( P = 0.0593) among years. In both years, Lake Tarpon had low early summer juvenile CPM and low fall adult CPM whereas Lake Wauburg had relatively high early summer juvenile CPM and high fall adult CPM (Figure 5). Therefore, mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in early summer was positively related to CPM of adult black crappie the previous fall. Crustacean zooplankton abundance varied among lakes and sample months in both years (Figure 6). There was a significant lake*month interaction in 2000 (F 11,34 = 9.65, P < 0.001) and 2001 (F 15,46 = 2.05, P = 0.032) indicating that zooplankton abundance differed among lakes but differences were not consistent through time. For example, Lake Wauburg had the highest crustacean densities in February 2000 (331 org/L), whereas Lake Lochloosa had the highest crustacean zooplankton abundance during June 2000 (1,821 org/L) (Figure 6). Zooplankton data were not collected from Lake Tarpon

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16 during August 2000 (Figure 6) because black crappie catches were nil during summer. In 2001, Lake Lochloosa patterns of crustacean zooplankton densities in April (310 org/L) were higher than the other two lakes, however, crustacean zooplankton abundance were generally similar across lakes across months (Figure 6). In general, Lake Lochloosa had the highest crustacean zooplankton densities, followed by Lake Wauburg, then by Lake Tarpon in both years. Large crustacean zooplankton (copepods and cladocerans 0.6 mm) (LC zooplankton) density varied among lakes and sample months in both years (Figure 7). The lake*month interaction was significant in 2000 (F 9,28 = 7.67, P < 0.001). For example, Lake Wauburg had the highest LC zooplankton densities in February 2000 (62 org/L), whereas Lake Lochloosa had the highest LC zooplankton density during June 2000 (251 org/L) (Figure 7). In 2001, there was a significant lake*month effect on LC zooplankton density (F 14,30 = 3.08, P = 0.0047). Lake Lochloosa LC zooplankton densities in April 2001 (33 org/L) were higher than Lake Wauburg (10 org/L) and Lake Tarpon (6 org/L). However in August 2001, LC zooplankton densities were higher at Lake Wauburg (36 org/L) than Lake Lochloosa (7 org/L) and Lake Tarpon (< 1 org/L) (Figure 7). In general, Lake Lochloosa had the highest LC zooplankton densities during summer, Lake Wauburg had intermediate LC zooplankton densities, and Lake Tarpon LC zooplankton densities were generally lower than the other two lakes, especially during summer. Diet selection of zooplankton taxa by age-0 black crappie varied by season in both years. In 2000, age-0 black crappie diet selectivity was diverse in early summer compared to later summer months where LC zooplankton were highly selected (Figure

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17 8). Lake Tarpon yielded few fish for diet analysis in 2000 (N=5), so selectivity indices could not be determined. In 2001, selection of zooplankton was similar to 2000 and by late summer, age-0 black crappie selection for LC zooplankton was pronounced in all three lakes. Thus, age-0 black crappie exhibited similar selection trends among lakes, with variable selection of zooplankton taxa in spring (e.g., March), followed by strong selection for large zooplankton by late summer and fall (i.e., August October) in both years. Consumption of LC zooplankton by age-0 black crappie in May varied among lakes. In May 2000, juvenile black crappie at Lake Wauburg were larger than those found at Lake Lochloosa, making comparisons of consumption invalid. However, in May 2001 the number of LC zooplankton consumed by age-0 black crappie differed among lakes (ANCOVA, test for difference in elevation, P < 0.001). Age-0 black crappie at Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon consumed more LC zooplankton than similar-sized fish at Lake Lochloosa (Figure 9). Most age-0 black crappie contained crustacean zooplankton in their diets in May and throughout the summer in all lakes in 2000 and 2001, but occurrence of macroinvertebrates and fish in the diets varied among lakes and years (Figure 10). In 2000, zooplankton was found in 100% of black crappie in May, but by August over 80% of fish in Lochloosa contained macroinvertebrates compared to about 20% of fish at Lake Wauburg. Low numbers of age-0 black crappie collected at Lake Tarpon precluded diet analysis for fish in this lake in summer 2000. In October 2000, fish were found in about 60% of Lake Tarpon black crappie diets whereas most fish at Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg contained zooplankton and macroinvertebrates (Figure 10). In 2001, over 90%

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18 of age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa contained macroinvertebrates in May, whereas most age-0 black crappie in all lakes contained zooplankton and macroinvertebrates during August and October (Figure 10). Thus, most age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa consumed macroinvertebrates earlier in summer than the other two lakes in both years (Figure 10), yet age-0 black crappie size was not larger by October (Figure 4). Occurrence of fish in diets of age-0 black crappie was higher at Lake Tarpon than the other two lakes in both years (Figure 10) and age-0 black crappie size was larger by October (Figure 4).

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19 WauburgLochloosaTarpon Figure 1. Location of study lakes in Florida.

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20 0.11101002000 larval 0.11101002001 larval Feb Mar Apr MayFeb Mar Apr May Feb Mar Apr MayabLog10 ((Fish/1000 M3) + 0.001) 0.111010010002000 small trawl 2001 small trawlcdApr May Jun Aug OctApr May Jun Aug Oct Apr May Jun Aug OctLochloosaTarponWauburg 0.11101001000 Log10 ((CPM) + 0.001) Figure 2. Mean ( 1 SE) larval densities (a and b panels) as estimated from neuston net catches and small trawl catch per minute (CPM) (c and d panels) across sample months in 2000 and 2001 at Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg.

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21 LOCHLOOSATARPONWAUBURG0.1110100 2000 LOCHLOOSATARPONWAUBURG 2001n = 54 trawlsn = 6 trawlsn = 7 trawlsn = 23 trawlsn = 43 trawlsn = 20 trawlsLog10 Bottom trawl catch per minute (CPM)LAKE Figure 3. Large trawl catch per minute (mean 1 SE) of juvenile black crappie during fall of 2000 and 2001. Sample size (n = number of trawls) is indicated.

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22 020406080100Wauburg2000 020406080100Lochloosa 020406080100Tarpon 020406080100Wauburg2001 020406080100 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 20LochloosaCM GROUP Apr Jun Oct Aug May 020406080100Tarpon Percent Figure 4. Relative length frequency distributions for age-0 black crappie in Lakes Wauburg, Tarpon, and Lochloosa in 2000 and 2001.

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23 Figure 5. Regression between log 10 adult black crappie catch-per-minute (CPM) prior to spawning and log 10 juvenile black crappie CPM during May 2000 and 2001 in Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg. Symbols indicate lake (L=Lochloosa, T=Tarpon, W=Wauburg) and year (00=2000, 01=2001).

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24 101001000 101001000 FebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugSepOct101001000LOCHLOOSA 2000TARPON 2000WAUBURG 2000 101001000 101001000 FebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugSepOct101001000LOCHLOOSA 2001TARPON 2001WAUBURG 2001MONTHLog10 crustacean zooplankton density (org/L) Figure 6. Log 10 crustacean zooplankton (copepods and cladocerans) densities ( 1 SE) in Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg for each sample month in 2000 and 2001. Mean densities with no error bars indicate low variance in those months. No samples were collected from any lakes in July 2000 or from Lake Tarpon in August 2000.

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25 110100 110100 FebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugOct110100LOCHLOOSA 2000TARPON 2000WAUBURG 2000 110100 110100 FebMarAprMayJuneJulyAugOct110100LOCHLOOSA 2001TARPON 2001WAUBURG 2001MONTHLog10 large ( >0.6 mm ) crustacean zooplankton density (org/L) Figure 7. Log 10 crustacean zooplankton ( 0.6 mm) mean densities ( 1 SE) in Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg during sample months in 2000 and 2001. Mean densities with no error bars indicate low variance in those months. No samples were collected from any lakes in July 2000 or from Lake Tarpon in August 2000.

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26 Figure 8. Age-0 black crappie selectivity (mean 1 SE; Chesson 1978) for zooplankton taxa in 2000 on Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg. The solid line represents neutral selection. Taxa (RO rotifers, NA nauplii, EU Eubosmina, BO Bosmina, AL Alona, DI Diaphanosoma, CY cyclopoid copepods, DA Daphnia, and CA calanoid copepods) are listed left to right from small to large. N equals the number of fish diets examined.

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27 Figure 9. Log 10 number of large crustacean zooplankton (LC) in diets of age-0 black crappie in May 2000 (top panel) and 2001 (bottom panel). Points indicate individual fish. Lines represent regression equations and the fish size range for each lake.

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28 Figure 10. Proportion of age-0 black crappie diets containing crustacean zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish during May, August, and October 2000 and 2001. No age-0 black crappie were sampled during August 2000 from Lake Tarpon. The number above the columns indicates the number of diets analyzed in each month.

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29 Table 1. Annual mean levels of chlorophyll a (Chl a), total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), and secchi depth (cm) of Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg for 2000 and 2001. Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg data were from Florida Lakewatch (2001) and Lake Tarpon data were from Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management (unpublished data). Monthly samples (Jan-Dec) were collected from 3 sites at Lake Tarpon and 4 sites from Lake Wauburg in both years. In Lake Lochloosa, samples in 2000 were collected monthly at 4 sites except February secchi and November and December for all parameters. Due to low water levels in Lake Lochloosa in 2001, sampling protocol was reduced to two monthly water samples in February and August and one secchi depth reading in February. Percent of lake volume inhabited by macrophytes (PVI) was determined in Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg during May, October, and June of 2001, respectively. Dynamic ratio estimates are from Bachmann et al. (2000). Lochloosa Tarpon Wauburg Surface area (ha) 2286 1030 150 Mean water depth (m) 2.0 2.5 3.0 Chl a (g/L) 2000 254 33 61 2001 138 29 83 TP (g/L) 2000 96 40 94 2001 90 43 115 TN (g/L) 2000 5275 1222 1445 2001 3824 1114 1793 Secchi Depth (cm) 2000 26 82 72 2001 40 85 61 PVI (%) 5.0 4.3 0.6 Dynamic ratio (km/m) 2.39 1.26 0.41

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30 Table 2. Pearson correlations between fall juvenile black crappie abundance (October age-0 CPM) and both larval density (fish/1000 m 3 ) and juvenile abundance (May CPM) in the three study lakes (N). Sample typeAbundance parameter20002001N = 3N = 3Surface trawlr0.122-0.206Larval fish/1000 m3P0.9220.868Small bottom trawlr0.9990.992May age-0 CPMP0.0080.082Large bottom trawlOctober age-0 CPM

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DISCUSSION Age-0 black crappie abundance and size during fall was not related to crustacean zooplankton abundance through summer among the three lakes. Age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa were small compared to the other two lakes, but zooplankton density was highest at this lake in both years. Conversely, Lake Tarpon had the largest age-0 black crappie, but low zooplankton densities relative to the other two lakes. Lake Wauburg had higher abundances and intermediate size of age-0 black crappie and intermediate zooplankton abundance. Pope and Willis (1998) found no relation between crappie abundance and crustacean zooplankton size or abundance in two South Dakota systems over a three-year period. However, a weak correlation between zooplankton abundance and larval crappie density in Normandy Reservoir, Tennessee was reported by Sammons et al. (2001). Crustacean zooplankton densities (range 44 89 org/L) in Normandy Reservoir were lower than in South Dakota (50-700 org/L, Pope and Willis 1998). The lakes I evaluated were eutrophic/hypereutrophic and contained high crustacean zooplankton densities (50-1300 org/L). Thus, crustacean zooplankton densities did not appear to limit age-0 black crappie abundance or size in this study. Systems with greater crustacean zooplankton densities (i.e., more than 50 org/L) may not be zooplankton limited compared to systems that contain low abundance of crustacean zooplankton. I found a correlation between abundance of age-0 black crappie in May and stock abundance the previous fall among the three lakes. Similarly, Allen and Miranda (1998) documented Ricker-type stock recruitment relations for crappies in four southeastern 31

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32 reservoirs. Because my study only contained six lake-years of data (3 lakes and 2 years), I was unable to develop a stock-recruitment curve. However, a positive relation existed between stock and recruits in this study, and stock abundance during fall explained about 63% of the variation in early-summer age-0 black crappie abundance among lakes. Population bottlenecks often regulate rates of mortality and growth in juvenile fish (Diana 1995). Although bottlenecks in survival may occur during summer in juvenile largemouth bass (Olson 1996; Ludsin and DeVries 1997) and bluegill Lepomis macrochirus (Cargnelli and Gross 1996), I found no evidence of a summer bottleneck for age-0 black crappie. Fall abundance of age-0 black crappie was strongly related to juvenile abundance during early summer among the study lakes. Because early summer catch rates were highly correlated to fall catch rates, zooplankton abundance during summer appeared adequate for high survival. Thus, age-0 black crappie fall abundance was set by early summer in both years. Larval black crappie densities were not related to CPM of juvenile black crappie during early summer (May) or fall (October). Larval black crappie densities at Lake Lochloosa were higher than Lake Wauburg whereas juvenile black crappie were most abundant at Lake Wauburg. Higher larval black crappie catch rates at Lake Lochloosa may have resulted from the lake being shallow relative to Lake Wauburg (2 m vs 3 m) i.e., the neuston net sampled a larger portion of the water column relative to Lake Wauburg. Although I collected larval black crappie (7 to 15 mm) with the neuston net throughout the spring, I did not assess the survival of larval crappie to the juvenile stage. Therefore, mortality of larval black crappie may have occurred during spring of each year prior to recruitment of fish to the small bottom trawl sampling gear. Alternately, larval

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33 sampling during daylight hours may have been less effective as compared to night sampling by Sammons and Bettoli (1998). It is possible that the neuston net may have ineffectively collected larval black crappie and confounded the relationship between larval and age-0 fall abundance at the three study lakes. I detected differences in fall size structure of black crappie among lakes. However, fall size structure may not have been indicative of growth rates because differences in hatching duration may have contributed to the differences in size among age-0 black crappie. Black crappie began hatching at similar times, however, larval crappie ( 15 mm) were present longer at Lake Lochloosa in both years. The extended occurrence of larval fish could have resulted from a protracted hatching period at Lake Lochloosa. This difference may be related to the resulting fall size structure of the study lakes (i.e., late-hatched fish may represent the smaller fish in the sample). At Lake Tarpon, no larval fish were caught in 2000, likely due to low abundance. Age-0 black crappie size differences among lakes may be attributed to the amount of large zooplankton consumed. Juvenile black crappie at Lakes Tarpon and Wauburg consumed more large zooplankton in early summer and obtained a larger modal size by fall than juvenile black crappie at Lake Lochloosa. In comparison, juvenile bloater Coregonus hoyi that consumed large prey items achieved greater size than bloaters in aquaria without large prey available (Miller et al. 1990). Therefore, juvenile black crappie that consumed more large zooplankton in early summer may have had a size advantage by fall. Growth of young and adult crappies has been shown to be density dependent in some lakes and reservoirs (Swingle and Swingle 1967; Allen et al. 1998). However, I

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34 found little evidence of density-dependent growth due to zooplankton abundance among lakes. Lake Tarpon had the largest age-0 black crappie and the lowest zooplankton density in this study, but Lake Wauburg had higher zooplankton density and intermediate age-0 black crappie size among the three lakes. Zooplankton abundance was generally highest at Lake Lochloosa where age-0 black crappie were smallest in October. Thus, my expectation that age-0 black crappie size would be greater at lakes with higher zooplankton densities was not evident in this study. Results of diet analysis of juvenile black crappie among the three lakes revealed similar prey composition as found in previous studies (Siefert 1968; Tucker 1972, Schael et al. 1991; DeVries et al. 1998, Pine and Allen 2001). Primarily large crustacean zooplankton, especially calanoid copepods, were positively selected by juvenile black crappie in the study lakes. However, preferred-size zooplankton densities were generally higher at Lake Lochloosa where juvenile black crappie size was smaller by fall when compared to the other two lakes. Pine and Allen (2001) found no significant differences in calanoid copepod densities through summer at Lake Wauburg, yet there were different growth rates between early and late age-0 black crappie cohorts, likely due to water temperature. Differences in water clarity (i.e., secchi depth) may have contributed to the observed variation in age-0 black crappie sizes by fall among the study lakes. Reduced water clarity can be caused by phytoplankton production (Brown et al. 2000) and sediment resuspension (Bachmann et al. 2000) and may negatively influence foraging efficiency of larval fish, including black crappie (Mitzner 1991). Barefield and Ziebell (1986) demonstrated that the number of large zooplankton (Daphnia pulex 2.0-2.5 mm)

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35 ingested by crappies (100-150 mm) was reduced as turbidity increased in a laboratory environment. Striped bass larvae ate fewer copepods as turbidity increased although the size of copepods consumed did not vary (Breitburg 1988). Miner and Stein (1993) suggested that larval bluegill growth may be negatively affected by turbidity. However, Miner and Stein (1993) also demonstrated the importance of contrast in the background to highlight transparent zooplankton. Thus, there may be a threshold in turbidity as suggested by Mitzner (1995) that provides optimum foraging for larval crappie. The dynamic ratio (km/m) (Bachmann et al. 2000) indicates how likely shallow lakes are susceptible to turbulence and sediment resuspension due to wind. Bachmann et al. (2000) indicated that a lake with a dynamic ratio, (the square root of lake surface area in square kilometers divided by mean depth in meters), greater than 0.8 km/m may be prone to sediment resuspension. In addition, the percent of lake volume inhabited by macrophytes (PVI) may alter the dynamic ratio (e.g., high macrophyte abundance may buffer the turbulence generated by the wind, thereby overestimating the dynamic ratio)(Bachmann et al. 2000). Calculating the dynamic ratio for each study lake, Lake Wauburg had the lowest value at 0.41 km/m, Lake Tarpon was intermediate at 1.26 km/m, and Lake Lochloosa had the highest value at 2.39 km/m. Secchi depths were lower at Lake Lochloosa than at Lakes Tarpon and Wauburg in both years and PVI values in all lakes were relatively low. With low secchi depths and low PVI, it is possible that reduced water clarity at Lake Lochloosa may have resulted from a high dynamic ratio and associated sediment resuspension. In addition to potential wind resuspension of bottom sediments, chlorophyll values at Lake Lochloosa (> 100 g/L) were higher than Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon (70 and 30 g/L, respectively). Thus, both

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36 physical (i.e., dynamic ratio) and biotic (i.e., chlorophyll) characteristics indicate that visibility and associated feeding efficiency of age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa may have been lower than at Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon. There is a need to determine the feeding success of age-0 black crappie on zooplankton prey in environments with varying water clarity (turbidity). Although Barefield and Ziebell (1986) evaluated feeding rates at different turbidities, the size of zooplankton prey (Daphnia pulex 2.0-2.5 mm) they used was relatively large compared to prey types in my study lakes. Results of such a study would increase our understanding of the influence of turbidity on growth and survival of age-0 black crappie. Many previous studies have shown that ontogenetic diet shifts can affect the growth and survival of age-0 fish. For example, dramatic increases in age-0 largemouth bass growth rates occur after a diet switch to macroinvertebrates whereas no diet shift causes poor fish growth and survival (Olson 1996, Ludsin and DeVries 1997). Northern pike Esox lucius require a shift from zooplankton prey to macroinvertebrates during early life prior to their shift to piscivory (Bry et al. 1995). Conversely, studies that observed a diet switch to macroinvertebrates by yellow perch Perca flavescens have shown conflicting results. Cobb and Watzin (1998) observed faster yellow perch growth rates when macroinvertebrates were consumed. However, juvenile yellow perch (> 30 mm TL) growth rates decreased when the proportion of benthic prey items increased at Lake Mendota, Wisconsin (Wu and Culver 1992). In this study, occurrence of macroinvertebrates in diets of black crappie size increased with fish size consistent with findings of previous studies (Tucker 1972; Ellison 1984). However, age-0 black crappie were smaller by fall at Lake Lochloosa than Lake Tarpon although macroinvertebrates

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37 occurred commonly in the diets of fish from both lakes. Additionally, crustacean zooplankton occurred more often than macroinvertebrates in age-0 black crappie diets at Lake Wauburg, yet modal fish size was intermediate. Thus, a diet switch to macroinvertebrates by age-0 black crappie at all lakes did not translate to large size by fall as observed in studies of other predators (Bry et al. 1995; Olson 1996). However, macroinvertebrates and fish were present in age-0 black crappie diets at Lake Tarpon and crappie size by fall was greater than the other two lakes. Therefore, it appears that some age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon may have benefited from a diverse diet of zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish by October. However, I did not assess macroinvertebrate or forage fish density among lakes and thus was unable to relate black crappie size and abundance to macroinvertebrate or forage fish abundance. Age-0 black crappie abundance and size was not related to crustacean zooplankton density in highly productive natural lakes in Florida. Although crustacean zooplankton abundance was not related to age-0 black crappie abundance or size, I observed large differences in fall size and abundance of black crappie among the study lakes. Abiotic factors (e.g., reduced water clarity) may have reduced successful capture of crustacean zooplankton, especially at Lake Lochloosa, with negative consequences for growth of larval crappie in this lake. Juvenile black crappie abundances were also influenced by the abundance of adult black crappie the previous fall.

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MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS Age-0 black crappie abundance and size was variable at productive lakes in Florida. For example, age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon exhibited larger size than Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg during both study years, some reaching 18 cm by October. These sizes are more common in black crappie older than age-0 (Carlander 1977; Allen et al. 1998), thus crappie in Lake Tarpon may attain a harvestable size faster than other crappie populations. Harvest of these fish during a winter fishery at Lake Tarpon may reduce the potential number of spawning individuals the following year (Webb and Ott 1991). Age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon might be protected by imposing a length limit, potentially increasing their contribution to the reproductive population. Crappie populations with fast growth rates and low abundance, such as Lake Tarpon, may benefit from the implementation of harvest regulations. Conversely, implementing regulations on lakes or reservoirs with a high crappie abundance and/or small size, such as Lakes Wauburg and Lochloosa, may not be beneficial. I found that mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in May was highly correlated with fall abundance among the three lakes in both years. Thus, year class strength of fish entering fall appeared to be set by May in both years. Larval fish densities, as determined from neuston net samples during spring, were not a reliable index of year class strength by fall as shown by Sammons and Bettoli (1998) in Tennessee. Thus, fishery managers might be better served by conducting bottom trawls in early summer to assess black crappie year class strength in Florida lakes. 38

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39 Mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in May was strongly related to adult black crappie abundance in the previous fall. Thus, fall adult crappie stock abundance may depict juvenile crappie abundance the following summer. Hence, fall stock abundance may partially explain abundance of juvenile black crappie in Florida lakes. However, the interaction between stock densities and variable environmental conditions strongly influences crappie recruitment (Allen and Miranda 2001). Future studies that evaluate stock-recruitment relationships with abiotic effects are needed to further understand the mechanisms that result in variation in crappie recruitment.

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LIST OF REFERENCES Allen, M. S., and L. E. Miranda. 1995. An evaluation of the value of harvest restrictions in managing crappie fisheries. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15:766-772. Allen, M. S., and L. E. Miranda. 1998. An age-structured model for erratic crappie fisheries. Ecological Modelling 107:289-303. Allen, M. S., and L. E. Miranda. 2001. Quasi-cycles in crappie populations are forced by interactions among population characteristics and environment. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 58:594-601. Allen, M. S., M. V. Hoyer, and D. E. Canfield, Jr. 1998. Factors related to black crappie occurrence, density, and growth in Florida lakes. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 18:864-871. Bachmann, R. W., M. V. Hoyer, and D.E. Canfield, Jr. 2000. The potential for wave disturbance in shallow Florida lakes. Lake and Reservoir Management 16:281-291. Barefield, R. L., and C. D. Ziebell. 1986. Comparative feeding ability of small white and black crappie in turbid water. Iowa State Journal of Research 61:143-146. Beam, J. H. 1983. The effect of annual water level management on population trends of white crappie in Elk City Reservoir, Kansas. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 3:34-40. Breitburg, D. L. 1988. Effects of turbidity on prey consumption by striped bass larvae. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 117:72-77. Browman, H. I., and W. J. O'Brien. 1992. The ontogeny of search behavior in the white crappie Pomoxis annularis Environmental Biology of Fishes 34:181-195. Brown, C. D., M. V. Hoyer, R. W. Bachmann, and D. E. Canfield, Jr. 2000. Nutrient-chlorophyll relationships: an evaluation of empirical nutrient-chlorophyll models using Florida and northern temperate lake data. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57:1574-1583. 40

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41 Bry, C., F. Bonamy, J. Manelphe, and B. Duranthon. 1995. Early life characteristics of pike, Esox lucius in rearing ponds: temporal survival pattern and ontogenetic diet shifts. Journal of Fish Biology 46:99-113. Cargnelli, L. M., and M. R. Gross. 1996. The temporal dimension in fish recruitment: birth date, body size, and size-dependent survival in a sunfish (bluegill: Lepomis macrochirus ). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 53:360-367. Carlander, K. D. 1977. Handbook of freshwater fishery biology. Iowa State University Press, Ames, Iowa. Chesson, J. 1978. Measuring preference in selective predation. Ecology 59:211-215. Chick, J. H., and M. J. Van Den Ayvle. 2000. Effects of feeding ration on larval swimming speed and responsiveness to predator attacks: implications for cohort survival. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 57:106-115. Claramunt, R. M., and D. H. Wahl. 2000. The effects of abiotic and biotic factors in determining larval fish growth rates: a comparison across species and reservoirs. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 129:835-851. Cobb, S. E., and M. C. Watzin. 1998. Trophic interactions between yellow perch ( Perca flavescens ) and their benthic prey in a littoral zone community. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 55:8-36. DeVries, D. R., M. T. Bremigan, and R. A. Stein. 1998. Prey selection by larval fishes as influenced by available zooplankton and gape limitation. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 127:1040-1050. Diana, J. S. 1995. Biology and ecology of fishes. Biological Sciences Press, Carmel, Indiana. Ellison, D. G. 1984. Trophic dynamics of a Nebraska black crappie and white crappie population. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 4:355-364. Everhart, W.H., and W.D. Youngs. 1981. Principles of fisheries science. 2nd edition. Cornell University Press, New York. Fisher, S. A. 1997. Comparison of abiotic and biotic characteristics of four small impoundments (40-100ha) with crappie and shad populations. Missouri Department of Conservation, Dingell-Johnson Project F-1-R-46, Study I-34, Job 2, Final Report, Columbia, Missouri.

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42 Florida LAKEWATCH. 2001. Long-term fish population trends in Florida lakes: 2001 data. Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences. Library, University of Florida. Gainesville, Florida. Forsberg, C., and S. Ryding. 1980. Eutrophication parameters and trophic state indices in 30 Swedish waste-receiving lakes. Archiv fr Hydrobiologie 89:189-207. Garvey, J. E., and R. A. Stein. 1998. Competition between larval fishes in reservoirs: the role of relative timing of appearance. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 127:1021-1039. Guy, C. S., and D. W. Willis. 1995. Population characteristics of black crappies in South Dakota waters: a case for ecosystem-specific management. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 15:754-765. Hanson, J. M., and S. U. Qadri. 1984. Feeding ecology of age 0 pumpkinseed (Lepomis gibbosus ) and black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus ) in the Ottawa River. Canadian Journal of Zoology 62:613-621. Hayward, R. S., and E. Arnold. 1996. Temperature dependence of maximum daily consumption in white crappie: implications for fisheries management. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 125:132-138. Holland-Bartels, L. E., S. K. Littlejohn, and M. L. Huston. 1990. A guide to the larval fishes of the Upper Mississippi River. University of Minnesota Extension Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, LaCrosse, Wisconsin. Houde, E. D. 1989. Subtleties and episodes in the early life of fishes. Journal of Fish Biology 35 (Supplement A):29-38. Hoyer, M. V., and D. E. Canfield, Jr. 1994. Handbook of common freshwater fish in Florida lakes. University of Florida Press, Gainesville, Florida. Ludsin, S. A., and D. R. DeVries. 1997. First-year recruitment of largemouth bass: the interdependency of early life stages. Ecological Applications 7:1024-1038. Maceina, M. J., and M. R. Stimpert. 1998. Relations between reservoir hydrology and crappie recruitment in Alabama. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 18:104-113. Maceina, M. J., P. W. Bettoli, W. G. Klussman, R. K. Betsill, and R. L. Noble. 1991. Effect of aquatic macrophyte removal on recruitment and growth of black crappies and white crappies in Lake Conroe, Texas. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 11:556-563.

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43 Merritt, R. W., and K. W. Cummins, editors. 1996. An introduction to the aquatic insects of North America, 3rd edition. Kendall/Hunt, Dubuque, Iowa. Miller, T. J., L. B. Crowder, and F. P. Binkowski. 1990. Effects of changes in the zooplankton assemblage and growth of bloater and implications for recruitment success. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 119:483-491. Miller, T. J., L. B. Crowder, J. A. Rice, and F. P. Binkowski. 1988. Body size and the ontogeny of the functional response in fishes. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 49:805-812. Miner, J. G. and R. A. Stein. 1993. Interactive influence of turbidity and light on larval bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus ) foraging. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 50:781-788. Miranda, L. E., and H. Gu. 1998. Dietary shifts of a dominant reservoir planktivore during early life stages. Hydrobiologia 377:73-83. Mitzner, L. R. 1991. Effect of environmental variables upon crappie young, year-class strength, and the sport fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 11:534-542. Mitzner, L. R. 1995. Effect of environmental factors and harvest regulations upon the crappie (Pomoxis ) sportfishery at Rathbun Lake. Technical Bulletin 5. Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Ames. Myers, R. A. 1997. Recruitment variation in fish populations assessed using meta-analysis. Pages 451-467 in R. C. Chambers and E. A. Trippel, editors. Early life history and recruitment in fish populations. Chapman and Hall, New York. OBrien, W. J., B. L. Loveless, and D. W. Wright. 1984. Feeding ecology of young white crappie in a Kansas reservoir. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 4:341-349. Olson, M. H. 1996. Ontogenetic niche shifts in largemouth bass: variability and consequences for first-year growth. Ecology 77:179-190. Partridge, D. G., and D. R. DeVries. 1999. Regulation of growth and mortality in larval bluegills: implications for juvenile recruitment. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 128:625-638. Pennak, R. 1987. Freshwater invertebrates of the United States: Protozoa to Mollusca, 3rd edition. Wiley and Sons, New York. Pine, W. E., III. 2000. Comparison of two otter trawls of different sizes for sampling black crappies. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 20:819-821.

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44 Pine, W. E., III, and M. S. Allen. 2001. Differential growth and survival of weekly age-0 black crappie cohorts in a Florida lake. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 130:80-91. Pope, K. L. and D. W. Willis. 1996. Differential relations of age-0 black crappie and yellow perch to climatological variables in a natural lake. Journal of Freshwater Ecology 11: 345-350. Pope, K. L., and D. W. Willis. 1998. Early life history and recruitment of black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus ) in two South Dakota waters. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 7:56-68. Pope, K. L., and D. R. DeVries. 1994. Interactions between larval white crappie and gizzard shad: quantifying mechanisms in small ponds. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:975-987. Royce, W. F. 1996. Introduction to the practice of fishery science. Academic Press, San Diego, California. Sammons, S. M., and P. W. Bettoli. 1998. Larval sampling as a fisheries management tool: early detection of year-class strength. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 18:137-143. Sammons, S. M., P. W. Bettoli, and V. A. Greear. 2001. Early life history characteristics of age-0 white crappie in response to hydrology and zooplankton densities in Normandy Reservoir, Tennessee. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 130:442-449. Sanderson, B. L., T. R. Hrabik, J. J. Magunson, and D. M. Post. 1999. Cyclic dynamics of a yellow perch (Perca flavescens ) population in an oligotrophic lake: evidence for the role of intraspecific interactions. Canadian Journal of Aquatic Sciences 56:1534-1542. SAS Institute. 1997. SAS/STAT software: changes and enhancements through release 6.12. SAS Institute, Cary, North Carolina. Schael, D. M., L. G. Rudstam, and J. R. Post. 1991. Gape limitation and prey selection in larval yellow perch (Perca flavescens ), freshwater drum (Aplodinotus grunniens ), and black crappie (Pomoxis nigromaculatus ). Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 48:1919-1925. Siefert, R. E. 1968. Reproductive behavior, incubation and mortality of eggs, and postlarval food selection of white crappie. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 97:252-259.

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45 Sigler, W. F., and J. W. Sigler. 1990. Recreational fisheries: management, theory, and application. University of Nevada Press, Reno. Swingle, H. S., and W. E. Swingle. 1967. Problems in dynamics of fish populations in reservoirs. Pages 229-243 in Reservoir Fishery Resources Symposium, Reservoir Committee, Southern Division, American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, MD. Tucker, W. H. 1972. Food habits, growth, and length-weight relationships of young-of-the-year black crappie and largemouth bass in ponds. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of the Southeast Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 26:565-577. Tugend, K. I., and M. S. Allen. 2000. Temporal dynamics of zooplankton community composition and mean size at Lake Wauburg, Florida. Florida Scientist 62:142-154. Webb, M. A., and R. A. Ott, Jr. 1991. Effects of length and bag limits on population structure and harvest of white crappies in three Texas reservoirs. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 11:614-622. Welker, M. T., C. L. Pierce, and D. H. Wahl. 1994. Growth and survival of larval fish: roles of competition and zooplankton abundance. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 123:703-717. Wu, L., and D. A. Culver. 1992. Ontogenetic diet shift in Lake Erie age-0 yellow perch (Perca flavescens ): a size-related response to zooplankton density. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 49:1932-1937.

PAGE 55

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Kevin J. Dockendorf was born on February 15, 1973, in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of Tom and Helen Dockendorf. He was raised in the rural community of New Hampton, Iowa, with two brothers, Jeff and Brad. He graduated from Iowa State University with a B.S. in fisheries and wildlife biology in May 1996. He was a fisheries technician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey during 1996-2000. In February 2000, he began graduate work evaluating black crappie recruitment in the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of Florida. In December 2002, he will graduate with his Master of Science degree. His future plans include getting married in June 2003 and pursuing a career as a fisheries management biologist within a state agency. 46


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Title: Relationships between zooplankton abundance and age-0 black crappie abundance and size at three productive Florida lakes
Physical Description: Mixed Material
Creator: Dockendorf, Kevin J. ( Author, Primary )
Publication Date: 2002
Copyright Date: 2002

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RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ZOOPLANKTON ABUNDANCE AND AGE-0
BLACK CRAPPIE ABUNDANCE AND SIZE AT THREE PRODUCTIVE FLORIDA
LAKES















By

KEVIN J. DOCKENDORF


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2002




























Copyright 2002

by

Kevin J. Dockendorf






























To my parents, Tom and Helen.















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would like to thank my advisor, Dr. Mike Allen, for his assistance and mentoring on

this project. I am grateful for the opportunity to complete a research project with his

guidance and motivation.

I would also like to thank the members of my graduate committee, Dr. Tom Frazer,

Dr. Debra Murie, and Mr. Gary Warren, for their input and advice on this project from

the proposal to the thesis defense.

Thanks go to M. Bledsoe, T. Bonvechio, P. Cooney, T. Glancy, J. Greenawalt, K.

Henry, A. Hester, C. Horsburgh, M. Hale, M. Hoyer, B. Hujik, G. Kaufman, J. Kline, C.

Mwatela, E. Nagid, D. Parkyn, B. Pine, M. Rogers, B. Tate, K. Tugend, and P. Wheeler

for their assistance on this project. I greatly appreciated their time and efforts in the field,

lab, and/or presentation practices.

Funding for this project was provided by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation

Commission and Pinellas County Department of Environmental Management.

I am grateful for the love and support from my family and fiancee, Pamela. Their

patience and reassurance helped generate the confidence and motivation to complete this

project.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS
page

A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................................................................. iv

L IST O F T A B L E S ........ ................................................................................. vi

L IST O F FIG U R E S .... ....... ................................................ .... ..... .. ............. vii

A B S T R A C T ......... .................................. ................................................... v iii

INTRODUCTION .............. ................................... ..............

M E T H O D S .......................................................................... . 6

Study Sites ........................ .............................. .................. 6
A ge-0 B lack Crappie C ollection................................................ ........................... 6
L ab W ork-up ..................................................................................... . 8
A dult A abundance .................................................................................................. ....... 8
Zooplankton Density.......................................... 9
D iet A n aly sis................................................................. 9
A n a ly se s ..................................................................... 1 0

R E S U L T S ................................................................................12

D IS C U S S IO N ................................................................................................... 3 1

M ANAGEM ENT IM PLICATIONS ....................................................... 38

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S .............................................................................. 40

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E T C H ........................................................................................ 46














v















LIST OF TABLES


Table page

1 Annual mean levels of chlorophyll a (Chl a), total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen
(TN), and secchi depth (cm) of Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg for 2000
and 2001 ..................................... ......................... .. ... .... ......... 29

2 Pearson correlations between fall juvenile black crappie abundance (October age-
0 CPM) and both larval density (fish/1000 m3) and juvenile abundance (May
CPM ) in the three study lakes (N). ............................................. ............... 30















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure p

1 Location of study lakes in Florida. ............................................. ............... 19

2 Mean ( 1 SE) larval densities (a and b panels) as estimated from neuston net
catches and small trawl catch per minute (CPM) (c and d panels) across sample
months in 2000 and 2001 at Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg..................20

3 Large trawl catch per minute (mean 1 SE) of juvenile black crappie during fall
of 2000 and 2001. Sample size (n = number of trawls) is indicated...................21

4 Relative length frequency distributions for age-0 black crappie in Lakes Wauburg,
Tarpon, and Lochloosa in 2000 and 2001............................. ................22

5 Regression between logo adult black crappie catch-per-minute (CPM) prior to
spawning and loglojuvenile black crappie CPM during May 2000 and 2001 in
Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and W auburg. ................................... ............... 23

6 Logio crustacean zooplankton copepodss and cladocerans) densities ( 1 SE ) in
Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg for each sample month in 2000 and 2001.
Mean densities with no error bars indicate low variance in those months. ...........24

7 Loglo crustacean zooplankton (> 0.6 mm) mean densities ( 1 SE) in Lakes
Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg during sample months in 2000 and 2001.......25

8 Age-0 black crappie selectivity (mean 1 SE; Chesson 1978) for zooplankton
taxa in 2000 on Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg. The solid line represents neutral
selection n ........................................................ ................ 2 6

9 Loglo number of large crustacean zooplankton (LC) in diets of age-0 black
crappie in May 2000 (top panel) and 2001 (bottom panel). Points indicate
individual fish. Lines represent regression equations and the fish size range for
e a c h la k e ...................................................................... 2 7

10 Proportion of age-0 black crappie diets containing crustacean zooplankton,
macroinvertebrates, and fish during May, August, and October 2000 and 2001.
No age-0 black crappie were sampled during August 2000 from Lake Tarpon....28















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ZOOPLANKTON ABUNDANCE AND AGE-0
BLACK CRAPPIE ABUNDANCE AND SIZE AT THREE PRODUCTIVE FLORIDA
LAKES

By

Kevin J. Dockendorf

December 2002


Chair: Dr. Micheal S. Allen
Major Department: Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Crappies Pomoxis spp. are valuable sportfish but are often difficult to manage due

to highly variable recruitment. I investigated relations between zooplankton abundance

and larval and juvenile black crappie Pomoxis nigromaculatus abundance and size at

three Florida lakes. Age-0 black crappie were collected at Lakes Wauburg, Lochloosa,

and Tarpon using surface and bottom trawls during spring, summer, and fall 2000 and

2001. Zooplankton abundance was measured concurrent with trawl sampling. In both

fall seasons, juvenile crappie were larger at Lake Tarpon than at Lakes Lochloosa and

Wauburg. However, age-0 black crappie abundance and summer crustacean zooplankton

densities were higher at Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg than at Lake Tarpon in both

years. The lack of a relationship between crustacean zooplankton density and black

crappie size across lakes suggests that age-0 black crappie abundance and size may not be

related to zooplankton abundance in natural productive Florida lakes. In this study, fall









abundance of age-0 black crappie was highly correlated with early summer abundance,

suggesting that year-class strength was set by early summer in the study lakes. Early

summer juvenile abundance predicted age-0 black crappie fall abundance more

effectively than larval fish density in the spring. Adult abundance and abiotic variables

(e.g., water clarity) influenced age-0 black crappie abundance and size more than

crustacean zooplankton abundance.















INTRODUCTION

Recruitment can be defined as an addition of young individuals to an adult fish

population (Everhart and Youngs 1981). Abundance of young fish is subject to

environmental factors such as habitat variation and food availability, along with biotic

interactions including predation and competition that may affect recruitment (Sigler and

Sigler 1990). Due to highly variable recruitment and subsequent fishing quality, fisheries

managers have found it difficult to manage crappies, Pomoxis spp. (Allen and Miranda

1995). Studies that reveal factors influencing recruitment may allow fishery managers to

predict year-class strength and improve fisheries via harvest restrictions, particularly with

important sport fish such as black crappie P. nigromaculatus and white crappie P.

annularis (Maceina et al. 1991).

Previous investigations have evaluated variability of crappie recruitment due to

abiotic factors such as water-level fluctuations, turbidity, wind, and temperature in lakes

and reservoirs (Beam 1983; Guy and Willis 1995; Mitzner 1995). Maceina and Stimpert

(1998) found that short winter (<10 days) and long post winter (> 11 days) retention

times in Alabama reservoirs interacted to produce strong crappie year classes. High

water level increased crappie year-class strength in a Kansas reservoir (Beam 1983).

Coves may have provided shelter from the wind for larval crappies (Fisher 1997; Pope

and Willis 1998), thus creating "nursery" areas. Wind and subsequent sediment

resuspension increased turbidity (Bachmann et al. 2000), thereby reducing visibility and

foraging success of many larval fish including crappie (Mitzner 1995; Claramunt and









Wahl 2000). Variable water temperatures may have also influenced recruitment. Cool

water temperatures (-17 C) during spring reduced growth rates of early-hatched black

crappie within a Florida lake (Pine and Allen 2001). Similarly, high water temperatures

(>27 C) may constrain crappie growth during summer, likely due to increases in

metabolic rates (Hayward and Arnold 1996).

Stock-recruitment dynamics may also explain recruitment variation among fish

populations (Myers 1997). Generally, as adult stock abundance increases, the number of

recruits produced increases and then may reach an asymptote (Beverton-Holt model) or

begin to decline (Ricker model). Often, this relationship is subject to variability and not

clearly defined (Royce 1996). Allen and Miranda (1998) found significant Ricker-type

stock-recruit relations between the number of adult crappie and the number of juvenile

crappie in four southern U.S. reservoirs. Adult yellow perch Perca flavescens abundance

was related to the abundance of age-0 yellow perch, but no stock-recruit relationship was

determined in Crystal Lake, WI (Sanderson et al. 1999).

Food availability, predation, and competition also influence recruitment (Garvey

and Stein 1998). Foraging success of larval fish is dependent upon availability of

zooplankton that are equal or less than larval gape for many fish including crappies

(Miller et al. 1988; Schael et al. 1991; DeVries et al. 1998). Suitable prey availability for

larval and juvenile fish can strongly influence growth and survival to adulthood (Welker

et al. 1994). For example, greater condition was observed in larval striped bass Morone

saxatilis reared in aquaria with high-prey densities than larvae reared in low-prey density

containers (Chick and Van Den Ayvle 2000). In general, larger larvae may catch more

prey due to increases in swimming speed and gape size, thus contributing to survival and









subsequent growth (Miller et al. 1988). Therefore, a lack of adequate prey may directly

lead to starvation of larval fish or may indirectly lead to mortality of larval fish subject to

a longer exposure to predators (Partridge and DeVries 1999). Limited food resources

may occur when larval and juvenile fish have high diet overlap in food selection,

potentially reducing larval survival (Welker et al. 1994; Garvey and Stein 1998). Subtle

differences in growth and survival, as a consequence of variations in food resources, can

have potentially profound effects on fish recruitment (Houde 1989).

Early life history and diet habits of crappie have been previously documented.

Black crappie and white crappie spawn in water temperatures ranging between 15 C and

20 C (Siefert 1968; Mitzner 1991), which generally occur from February to early May in

Florida lakes (Hoyer and Canfield 1994; Pine and Allen 2001). Swim-up is initiated in

the littoral region between 2 and 4 days post-hatch depending on water temperature

(Siefert 1968). After swim-up, larval crappies move from the littoral region to the

pelagic zone (O'Brien et al. 1984). Following absorption of the yolk sac, larval crappie

up to 8-mm total length (TL) feed primarily on copepod nauplii, whereas crappie 8-14

mm TL consume both copepods and cladocerans (Siefert 1968; Pope and DeVries 1994).

Larval crappie greater than 10 mm TL are usually not limited by gape, but selected prey

size may be less than maximum gape width due to foraging and digestion efficiency

(Schael et al. 1991; DeVries et al. 1998). Crappies primarily forage during daylight

hours (Hanson and Qadri 1984) using a saltatory search method (i.e., swim and pause;

Browman and O'Brien 1992). Juvenile black crappie (15-40 mm TL) feed primarily on

large zooplankton such as Daphnia pp. and calanoid copepods (Pine and Allen 2001).

Crappies between 60 and 160 mm TL continue to select for large zooplankton, but also









consume macroinvertebrates, such as dipteran larvae, ephemeropterans, and odonates

(Siefert 1968; Tucker 1972). Crappies above 160 mm TL continue to forage on

macroinvertebrates and may switch to small fish as prey (Siefert 1968; Ellison 1984).

Ontogenetic diet shifts often regulate fish survival through early life. For example,

largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides with higher feeding efficiency on zooplankton

and invertebrates exhibited faster growth rates and shifted to piscivory earlier than fish

with poor feeding efficiency on zooplankton and invertebrates (Olson 1996).

Consequently, Olson (1996) suggested that an early shift to piscivory was important for

juvenile largemouth bass growth and survival. Ludsin and DeVries (1997) described

complex largemouth bass recruitment dynamics with factors such as hatching duration,

ontogenetic shifts, lipid accumulation, and first winter survival interacting to influence

survival. Ludsin and DeVries (1997) emphasized the importance of following a species

throughout developmental stages to describe variables influencing recruitment.

Recently, trawls have been used in reservoirs and natural lakes to sample larval

(Pope and Willis 1996; Sammons and Bettoli 1998) and juvenile and adult crappies (Pine

2000). Where applicable, trawls allow sampling crappies through larval and juvenile life

stages, which until recently have not been evaluated (Pine and Allen 2001). In addition,

no previous studies have compared multiple natural lakes to assess factors influencing

black crappie recruitment.

I investigated the early life history of black crappie at three natural, productive

Florida lakes and evaluated factors that potentially influence their recruitment. The

objectives of this study were fourfold: 1) to compare the abundance and size distributions

of larval and juvenile black crappie at each lake, 2) to assess the relationship between






5


adult stock abundance and juvenile black crappie catch rates, 3) to quantitatively assess

and compare the abundance of potential zooplankton prey within each lake, and 4) to

investigate the relationship between prey abundance and relative year-class strength

among the three study lakes. I expected age-0 black crappie size and abundance to

increase with density of preferred-size zooplankton and black crappie stock abundance to

be related to age-0 black crappie abundance among lakes.















METHODS

Study Lakes

Lake location and physical and chemical parameters are shown in Figure 1 and

Table 1, respectively. Lake Wauburg is a 150-ha natural, hypereutrophic lake that

exhibits relatively stable and high black crappie recruitment (M. Allen, unpublished

data). Lake Lochloosa is a 2,286-ha natural, hypereutrophic lake that had variable black

crappie recruitment that was lower in the mid 1990's than later years (M. Allen,

unpublished data). Lake Tarpon is a 1,030-ha natural, eutrophic lake and has historically

sustained a quality black crappie fishery, yet abundance of recruits is often low (M.

Allen, unpublished data). Lake trophic state was determined with criteria developed by

Forsberg and Ryding (1980).

Age-0 Black Crappie Collection

Larval (< 15 mm TL) and juvenile (16 to 190 mm TL) black crappie were sampled

at Lakes Wauburg, Lochloosa, and Tarpon from February to October in 2000 and 2001 to

determine abundance and size structure. Five open-water sites were marked with a

Garmin III GPS unit and used for each sampling event. On all three lakes, crappie larvae

were collected with a neuston net (1x2-m2 mouth, 4-m bag, 1-mm mesh; Sammons and

Bettoli 1998) towed from a 6.7-m boat equipped with a 70-HP outboard motor. Neuston

net samples were conducted between 0900 and 1400 hours three times per month (every

10 days) in 2000 and twice per month (every two weeks) in 2001. At each site, the

neuston net was pulled once at a speed of -1.0 m/s for three minutes to minimize net









clogging. The trawl path was offset from the boat path in an attempt to reduce net

avoidance by larval fish due to prop wash. A General Oceanics flowmeter was mounted

in the net mouth to estimate the water volume sampled to determine larval crappie

density (fish/1000 m3). At the end of each tow, samples were rinsed from the cod end,

fixed in 10% formalin, and returned to the laboratory for analysis. Neuston netting for

larval black crappie (< 15 mm TL) was initiated in late February of each year and

continued until black crappie larvae were no longer caught in the trawl for three

consecutive sampling trips. Surface water temperature and dissolved oxygen were

measured once at the first site on each sample date.

When black crappie > 15 mm TL were collected in the neuston net, I used a small

otter trawl to collect juvenile black crappie (3.7 m mouth, 4.6 m body, 8.4 mm bar mesh

throat, 6.4 mm bar mesh bag; Pine and Allen 2001). At each fixed site, the small otter

trawl was deployed from the same vessel and towed once for three minutes at 1.0 m/s.

Sampling was conducted twice a month in April, May, and June of both years and once a

month in August 2000 and July, August, and September 2001. Age-0 black crappie

collected with the small otter trawl were preserved in 10% formalin and transported to the

lab.

In October of both years, juvenile black crappie were sampled at the same sites

using both the small trawl and also a larger otter trawl (4.6 m mouth, 4.9 m long, 38.1

mm bar mesh body, 31.8 mm bar mesh bag; Pine 2000) each pulled once at each site for

three minutes. Both trawls were pulled because black crappie less than 100 mm TL may

not be effectively collected with the large trawl (Pine 2000). The number of juvenile

black crappie caught per minute (CPM) was used as an index of abundance for both









bottom trawls. In all lakes, the number of large trawls pulled was increased to obtain

adequate samples for size structure in October of both years, especially at Lake Tarpon.

Black crappie were placed on ice and brought to the lab to extract otoliths. Black crappie

collected in October were verified as age-0 by examining otoliths for lack of annuli.

Lab Work-up

At the laboratory, larval and juvenile black crappie were counted, measured to the

nearest mm TL, and transferred to 95% alcohol for storage. Length-frequency

distributions of age-0 black crappie across dates were used to describe size of black

crappie through time at each lake. Up to 30 black crappie were subsampled in proportion

to the length frequency distribution each month (Ludsin and DeVries 1997) and their

stomachs were removed (O'Brien et al. 1984) and opened under a dissecting microscope.

Cladocerans were identified to genus whereas copepods were identified as calanoid,

cyclopoid, or nauplii according to Pennak (1987). Macroinvertebrates were identified to

family (Merritt and Cummins 1996) and undigested fish identified to lowest possible

taxon (Holland-Bartels et al. 1990). All organisms were counted and up to twenty

individuals of each taxon from each stomach were measured to the nearest 0.01 mm

using a standardized ocular micrometer.

Adult Abundance

Adult black crappie (> 200 mm TL) were collected with the large trawl at all three

lakes in October 1999 and 2000 to relate to juvenile abundance in 2000 and 2001. Fall

CPM of black crappie > 200 mm TL in 1999 and 2000 was used as an index of stock fish

abundance prior to the production of the 2000 and 2001 year classes.









Zooplankton Density

Zooplankton were collected concurrent with each sampling event to assess potential

prey abundance. Samples were taken using a Wisconsin-style plankton net (80-itm mesh)

raised vertically from the lake bottom to the surface at three of the five fixed trawl sites.

Samples were concentrated and stored in 10% formalin. At the laboratory, samples were

adjusted to a known volume and three 1-ml subsamples taken (Miranda and Gu 1998).

Each 1-ml subsample was placed in a Sedgewick-Rafter counting cell and examined

under a compound microscope equipped with an optical micrometer at 100X

magnification (Pine and Allen 2001). All zooplankton were counted and up to 20

individuals of each taxon were measured to the nearest 0.01 mm. Cladocerans were

identified to genus, copepods identified as calanoid, cyclopoid, or nauplii, and rotifers to

genus using Pennak (1987). We determined zooplankton density (D) for each sample by:

(ns vs)
(D =)(1)
(0.0113 *d)

where n is the total number of organisms counted in the subsample, vs is the total volume

of that sample in ml, dis the station depth (m), and 0.0113 is the mouth area (m2) of the

zooplankton net (Tugend and Allen 2000).

Diet Analysis

Selectivity analysis was performed to provide insight on the relationships between

zooplankton availability and diet composition in black crappie on each date. Chesson's

alpha (Chesson 1978) was used to assess prey selectivity:


a- m (2)
Y /
I









where r, is the proportion of the prey type i in the diet sample (in proportion to the total

number of prey types in the diet sample), p, is the proportion of prey type i in the

environment as determined from zooplankton counts, m is the number of prey types in

the environment, and a is the index of taxon selectivity. Alpha ranges from 0 to 1 where

neutral selection is equal to 1/m, positive selection is greater than 1/m, and negative

selection is less than 1/m.

Analyses

A repeated-measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test for

differences between mean larval black crappie density (fish/1000 m3) in the neuston net

and mean catch-per-minute (CPM) with small otter trawl across months and lakes in both

years. Data were logio-transformed after adding 0.001 to all values to homogenize the

variances. In the analyses, lakes were considered fixed factors, sample months were

treated as a time variable, and sample sites were treated as subjects. A least-squares

means procedure was used to separate means if the lake, month, or lake*month

interaction was significant in the repeated measures ANOVA. A one-way ANOVA was

used to test for differences in mean CPM among lakes for age-0 black crappie sampled in

October with the large otter trawl in both 2000 and 2001. The size structure of age-0

black crappie was described with length frequency histograms from bottom trawl

collections made from April through October. In October, fish from the small and large

trawls were combined to determine size structure of age-0 black crappie in the fall,

because the large trawl may ineffectively sample juvenile black crappie less than 100 mm

TL (Pine 2000). A Kolmogorov-Smirnov (KS) test was used to assess differences in the

length frequencies of black crappie during October of each year. Correlations between

larval density, early juvenile abundance, and fall age-0 abundance were determined for









each year across lakes. Regression analysis was used to assess relations between adult

black crappie (fish greater than 200 mm TL) abundance in October 1999 2000 (i.e., the

fall prior to production of the 2000 and 2001 year classes) and early summer (May)

juvenile abundance in both years at each of the three study lakes.

To assess differences in prey abundance among lakes, repeated-measures ANOVA

was used to test for differences in loglo-transformed crustacean zooplankton density

(org/L) using lakes and months as factors and the sites as subjects. Density of

zooplankton taxa that were common in the diets of juvenile black crappie were also

compared among lakes and sample months using repeated-measures ANOVA. An

analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to determine differences in the number of

large zooplankton consumed by age-0 black crappie from each lake during May of both

years. Most age-0 black crappie collected in the small trawl in May were

zooplanktivorous in all lakes. Age-0 black crappie diets containing zooplankton,

macroinvertebrates, and fish were analyzed using frequency of occurrence to assess

potential diet shifts among lakes. All statistical analyses were conducted with SAS

(1997) and statistical tests were considered significant when P < 0.05.















RESULTS

The timing of larval black crappie (i.e., < 15 mm TL) first occurrence varied by

lake and year. Larval black crappie were first collected at both Lakes Wauburg and

Lochloosa on March 6, 2000. No larval black crappie were collected at Lake Tarpon in

2000. Catch of larval black crappie declined to zero by May 2000 at Lake Wauburg, but

larval black crappie were collected with the neuston net at Lake Lochloosa through May

of the same year (Figure 2a). In 2001, larval black crappie were first collected on

February 19 at Lake Lochloosa, February 28 at Lake Wauburg, and only on March 2 at

Lake Tarpon. Larval black crappie were collected until March 10 at Lake Wauburg, and

until April 23 at Lake Lochloosa (Figure 2b). Thus, hatching duration may have been

longer at Lake Lochloosa in both years as indicated by the extended catch of larval black

crappie in the neuston net.

Larval black crappie abundance varied among lakes in both years. The lake*month

interaction on larval densities was significant in 2000 (F6,36 = 3.27, P = 0.008) and 2001

(F4,24 = 3.27, P = 0.0114). No larval black crappie were collected at Lake Tarpon in

2000. Larval densities were greater at Lake Lochloosa than Lake Wauburg in April 2000

(Ismeans P < 0.001, Figure 2a). Larval densities were greater at Lake Lochloosa than

Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon in February and March 2001 (Ismeans P < 0.02, Figure 2b).

Therefore, Lake Lochloosa generally had the highest larval density in the spring of both

years, but differences were not consistent across months.









The small otter trawl was used at all lakes starting in early April 2000 and 2001.

Repeated-measures ANOVA revealed a significant lake*month interaction in CPM

during 2000 (F7,34 = 2.82, P = 0.02). Lake Wauburg generally had a greater mean CPM

in the small otter trawl than Lakes Lochloosa and Tarpon in 2000 (Figure 2c). Lake

Tarpon had the lowest black crappie abundance as only 4 fish were collected during

summer 2000 with the small otter trawl (N= 2 in April and May), resulting in mean CPM

values below 0.2. Thus, summer abundance of juvenile black crappie was generally

highest at Lake Wauburg and lowest at Lake Tarpon (Figure 2c). In 2001, juvenile black

crappie were collected in all sample months beginning in April and continuing through

October except at Lake Tarpon, where no fish were collected in June 2001. In 2001, the

lake*month interaction was significant (F11, 70 = 2.52, P = 0.0098) indicating that

differences existed but were not consistent through time. For example, in May 2001,

mean CPM was highest at Lake Wauburg and lowest at Lake Tarpon (Figure 2d).

Conversely, mean CPM was highest at Lake Lochloosa, intermediate at Lake Wauburg,

and lowest at Lake Tarpon in June 2001 (Figure 2d).

Results from October sampling with the large otter trawl were indicative of the

same differences in black crappie abundance among lakes as summer samples with the

small otter trawl, i.e., Lake Wauburg exhibited a higher mean CPM than either Lake

Lochloosa or Tarpon in both 2000 and 2001 (Figure 3). The one-way ANOVA revealed

significant differences in mean black crappie CPM among all three lakes in both years

(2000 F2,64= 159.8, P = <0.0001, 2001 F2,83 = 69.21, P = <0.0001). Least squares means

showed significant differences among lakes in both years (2000 P < 0.032, 2001 P <









0.001). Thus, fall abundance of age-0 black crappie was highest at Lake Wauburg and

lowest at Lake Tarpon in both years (Figure 3).

Size of juvenile black crappie was generally largest at Lake Tarpon and smallest at

Lake Lochloosa during 2000 and 2001. Size structure of age-0 black crappie at Lake

Tarpon was not evident during summer 2000 due to low sample size (Figure 4). During

June 2000, modal lengths were 7 and 5 cm at Lakes Wauburg and Lochloosa,

respectively (Figure 4). This trend continued, and by October 2000, the modal lengths

were 10 and 11 cm at Lake Wauburg and 9 cm at Lake Lochloosa (Figure 4). Thus, age-

0 black crappie at Lake Wauburg appeared to be larger in fall 2000 than those at Lake

Lochloosa (Figure 4). Size distribution was more variable in October at Lake Tarpon

compared to the other two lakes, with age-0 black crappie ranging from 8 to 19 cm

(Figure 4). Modal length of age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon was 13 cm. Thus, Lake

Lochloosa had the smallest age-0 black crappie in the fall and Lake Tarpon the largest.

In October 2000, age-0 black crappie were larger at Lake Tarpon (K-S = 4.16, P < 0.001)

than Lake Wauburg and age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa were smaller than those

at Lake Wauburg (K-S = 3.97, P < 0.001).

Age-0 black crappie size structure in 2001 exhibited trends similar to those in 2000.

In June 2001, Lake Wauburg modal lengths were 5 and 7 cm whereas Lake Lochloosa

age-0 black crappie were mostly 5 cm. No age-0 black crappie were collected at Lake

Tarpon during June 2001 (Figure 4). In October 2001, the modal lengths were 9 and 10

cm (range 8 to 12 cm) at Lake Wauburg and 8 cm (range 7 to 13 cm) at Lake Lochloosa

(Figure 4). Lake Tarpon had a modal length of 10 cm with age-0 black crappie size

ranging from 8 to 17 cm (Figure 4). In October 2001, age-0 black crappie were larger at









Lake Tarpon (K-S = 3.56 P < 0.001) than Lake Wauburg, and age-0 black crappie at

Lake Wauburg were larger than Lake Lochloosa (K-S = 7.96 P < 0.001). Thus, age-0

black crappie size was generally largest at Lake Tarpon and smallest at Lake Lochloosa

in both years.

Mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in May (calculated from small bottom trawl

catches) effectively predicted fall age-0 black crappie abundance, but larval densities (as

indicated in neuston samples) were not related with fall age-0 black crappie CPM.

Juvenile black crappie CPM in May was highly correlated with fall age-0 black crappie

CPM in both years (Table 2). However, larval densities were not correlated to fall

abundance among lakes in either year (Table 2).

The relationship between adult black crappie (> 200 mm TL) abundance prior to

spawning and early juvenile abundance was marginally significant (P = 0.0593) among

years. In both years, Lake Tarpon had low early summer juvenile CPM and low fall adult

CPM whereas Lake Wauburg had relatively high early summer juvenile CPM and high

fall adult CPM (Figure 5). Therefore, mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in early summer

was positively related to CPM of adult black crappie the previous fall.

Crustacean zooplankton abundance varied among lakes and sample months in both

years (Figure 6). There was a significant lake*month interaction in 2000 (F11,34 = 9.65, P

< 0.001) and 2001 (F15,46 = 2.05, P = 0.032) indicating that zooplankton abundance

differed among lakes but differences were not consistent through time. For example,

Lake Wauburg had the highest crustacean densities in February 2000 (331 org/L),

whereas Lake Lochloosa had the highest crustacean zooplankton abundance during June

2000 (1,821 org/L) (Figure 6). Zooplankton data were not collected from Lake Tarpon









during August 2000 (Figure 6) because black crappie catches were nil during summer. In

2001, Lake Lochloosa patterns of crustacean zooplankton densities in April (310 org/L)

were higher than the other two lakes, however, crustacean zooplankton abundance were

generally similar across lakes across months (Figure 6). In general, Lake Lochloosa had

the highest crustacean zooplankton densities, followed by Lake Wauburg, then by Lake

Tarpon in both years.

Large crustacean zooplankton copepodss and cladocerans > 0.6 mm) (LC

zooplankton) density varied among lakes and sample months in both years (Figure 7).

The lake*month interaction was significant in 2000 (F9,28 = 7.67, P < 0.001). For

example, Lake Wauburg had the highest LC zooplankton densities in February 2000 (62

org/L), whereas Lake Lochloosa had the highest LC zooplankton density during June

2000 (251 org/L) (Figure 7). In 2001, there was a significant lake*month effect on LC

zooplankton density (F14,30 = 3.08, P = 0.0047). Lake Lochloosa LC zooplankton

densities in April 2001 (33 org/L) were higher than Lake Wauburg (10 org/L) and Lake

Tarpon (6 org/L). However in August 2001, LC zooplankton densities were higher at

Lake Wauburg (36 org/L) than Lake Lochloosa (7 org/L) and Lake Tarpon (< 1 org/L)

(Figure 7). In general, Lake Lochloosa had the highest LC zooplankton densities during

summer, Lake Wauburg had intermediate LC zooplankton densities, and Lake Tarpon LC

zooplankton densities were generally lower than the other two lakes, especially during

summer.

Diet selection of zooplankton taxa by age-0 black crappie varied by season in both

years. In 2000, age-0 black crappie diet selectivity was diverse in early summer

compared to later summer months where LC zooplankton were highly selected (Figure









8). Lake Tarpon yielded few fish for diet analysis in 2000 (N=5), so selectivity indices

could not be determined. In 2001, selection of zooplankton was similar to 2000 and by

late summer, age-0 black crappie selection for LC zooplankton was pronounced in all

three lakes. Thus, age-0 black crappie exhibited similar selection trends among lakes,

with variable selection of zooplankton taxa in spring (e.g., March), followed by strong

selection for large zooplankton by late summer and fall (i.e., August October) in both

years.

Consumption of LC zooplankton by age-0 black crappie in May varied among

lakes. In May 2000, juvenile black crappie at Lake Wauburg were larger than those

found at Lake Lochloosa, making comparisons of consumption invalid. However, in

May 2001 the number of LC zooplankton consumed by age-0 black crappie differed

among lakes (ANCOVA, test for difference in elevation, P < 0.001). Age-0 black crappie

at Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon consumed more LC zooplankton than similar-sized fish at

Lake Lochloosa (Figure 9).

Most age-0 black crappie contained crustacean zooplankton in their diets in May

and throughout the summer in all lakes in 2000 and 2001, but occurrence of

macroinvertebrates and fish in the diets varied among lakes and years (Figure 10). In

2000, zooplankton was found in 100% of black crappie in May, but by August over 80%

of fish in Lochloosa contained macroinvertebrates compared to about 20% of fish at Lake

Wauburg. Low numbers of age-0 black crappie collected at Lake Tarpon precluded diet

analysis for fish in this lake in summer 2000. In October 2000, fish were found in about

60% of Lake Tarpon black crappie diets whereas most fish at Lakes Lochloosa and

Wauburg contained zooplankton and macroinvertebrates (Figure 10). In 2001, over 90%









of age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa contained macroinvertebrates in May, whereas

most age-0 black crappie in all lakes contained zooplankton and macroinvertebrates

during August and October (Figure 10). Thus, most age-0 black crappie at Lake

Lochloosa consumed macroinvertebrates earlier in summer than the other two lakes in

both years (Figure 10), yet age-0 black crappie size was not larger by October (Figure 4).

Occurrence of fish in diets of age-0 black crappie was higher at Lake Tarpon than the

other two lakes in both years (Figure 10) and age-0 black crappie size was larger by

October (Figure 4).











Lochloosa


Wauburg





Tarpon


Figure 1. Location of study lakes in Florida.












100 T 2000 larval


10 +


0.1 I I I I I I
0.1


100- 2001 larval b


10-





0.1 I -I I I I


Feb Mar Apr


May Feb Mar Apr May


Feb Mar Apr May


1000 T 2000 small trawl


100 +


1000T 2001 small trawl


100


I I


Apr MayJun Aug Oct Apr May Jun Aug Oct Apr May Jun Aug Oct


Lochloosa


Tarpon


Wauburg


Figure 2. Mean ( 1 SE) larval densities (a and b panels) as estimated from neuston net
catches and small trawl catch per minute (CPM) (c and d panels) across sample
months in 2000 and 2001 at Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg.


a


c











d



i i
i. I


I I I I











100

:
rD

ci-"

. 10-
E








S0.1
- -


E
o
en
o

O 0.1
._J


LOCHLOOSA TARPON


2001


n = 20 trawls
EE_


2000
n = 7 trawls












n = 6 trawls


n = 54 trawls

-I-


WAUBURG LOCHLOOSA TARPON
LAKE


WAUBURG


Figure 3. Large trawl catch per minute (mean + 1 SE) of juvenile black crappie during
fall of 2000 and 2001. Sample size (n = number of trawls) is indicated.


n = 23 trawls



n = 43 trawls
E--











2000


Wauburg


J


Tarpon


1 00
80
60
40
20
0



40
1 00
80
60
40
20






no


lO
0
1 00


20


60










no
40




20
0






1 00
80
60



40
20
0
1 00
80
60
40
20
0
1 00
80
60
40
20
0


2001


Wauburg


Tarpon





Lochloosa


k -


0 2 4 6 8 10 12
CM GROUP


E Apr l May f Jun l Aug M Oct


Figure 4. Relative length frequency distributions for age-0 black crappie in Lakes
Wauburg, Tarpon, and Lochloosa in 2000 and 2001.


Lochloosa


U)



U)

01


14 16


18 20


-,V- I I1


llsl1111111111111111~ -


~111~

















0. -
o 100
a)



0


0
0)






0.1 -
0.01


woo


ogloMay=1.5572 + 1.6377 (logloAdult)
r2 = 0.6303
P = 0.0593


W01


0.1 1


Stock black crappie CPM
Figure 5. Regression between logo adult black crappie catch-per-minute (CPM) prior to
spawning and loglojuvenile black crappie CPM during May 2000 and 2001 in
Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg. Symbols indicate lake
(L=Lochloosa, T=Tarpon, W=Wauburg) and year (00=2000, 01=2001).











1000


100


0)
-_






0C
O
N"
C



"o
0
0
N
C

a)





J
Q.


--


LOCHLOOSA 2000


1000


100


10

1000


100


10


1000


100


10

1000


100


10
1000


100


Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct

MONTH


Figure 6. Loglo crustacean zooplankton copepodss and cladocerans) densities (+ 1 SE) in
Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg for each sample month in 2000 and
2001. Mean densities with no error bars indicate low variance in those months.
No samples were collected from any lakes in July 2000 or from Lake Tarpon
in August 2000.


TARPON 2000





Ie
WAUBURG 2000

Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Sep Oct






LOCHLOOSA 2001






TARPON 2001




WAUBURG 2001

WAUBURG 2001











LOCHLOOSA 2000


100

10

1

100

10

1

100

10

1



100

10

1

100

10

1

100

10


Feb Mar Apr


May June

MONTH


July Aug Oct


Figure 7. Loglo crustacean zooplankton (> 0.6 mm) mean densities ( 1 SE) in Lakes
Lochloosa, Tarpon, and Wauburg during sample months in 2000 and 2001. Mean
densities with no error bars indicate low variance in those months. No samples were
collected from any lakes in July 2000 or from Lake Tarpon in August 2000.


TARPON 2000


-



WAUBURG 2000


-- --I- -I- -z


Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug Oct


LOCHLOOSA 2001






TARPON 2001





WAUBURG 2001
I WAUBURG 2001

-I-
-I r I


-
=

=
















LOCHLOOSA 2000
1 Apr
0.8 N=36
0.6 -

0.2


081 N=20
08-
04-
02


WAUBURG 2000




II


+1~


i+l


June
08 N=29
0.6 -
0.4-
0.2
0

08- Aug
N=30
06


04-

N=19

0.2-
RO NA EU BO AL D CY DA CA
RO NA EU 80 AL DI CY DA CA


Apr
06 -
04-
02 -


0 ,, I ,
1 May
08 N=29
02
0 -3 -
04
02


o E I i- I -
. June
N=32
06 -
04
0.2 -


08 Aug
0.6 N=29

02 -



06 N=24
0.4
02

RO NA EU BO AL DI CY DA CA


Taxa


Figure 8. Age-0 black crappie selectivity (mean 1 SE; Chesson 1978) for zooplankton

taxa in 2000 on Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg. The solid line represents

neutral selection. Taxa (RO rotifers, NA nauplii, EU Eubosmina, BO -

Bosmina, AL Alona, DI Diaphanosoma, CY cyclopoid copepods, DA -

Daphnia, and CA calanoid copepods) are listed left to right from small to

large. N equals the number of fish diets examined.


-E I











May 2000


* -


S100-
E
r -
O



- 1
C
C--


0
10






0
o
0i 1


N
-100




a)


0 1 -
-J


*.-4- '.4
-ON 0g
-f -: :
S, S
*m a


Wauburg LC =-49.01 + 2.64 (TL)


Lochloosa LC =-8.29 + 0.92 (TL)


Wauburg LC =-6.88 + 2.54 (TL)


Tarpon


LC = 14.21 + 0.59 (TL)


Lochloosa LC = 1.32 + 0.22 (TL)


I I I I I I
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Age-0 black crappie total length (TL)


* Lochloosa


+ Tarpon


* Wauburg


Figure 9. Logio number of large crustacean zooplankton (LC) in diets of age-0 black
crappie in May 2000 (top panel) and 2001 (bottom panel). Points indicate
individual fish. Lines represent regression equations and the fish size range for
each lake.


May 2001
I mu


I I I










2000


30 29
4






0
21


21

0.8 -
0.6
0.4-
0.2

LOCHLOOSA

l] Fish


18


t2


TARPON WAUBURG L
E Macroinvertebrates


30 27 29


28 30 20

-7


OCHLOOSA

a


TARPON WAUBURG
Crustacean zooplankton


Figure 10. Proportion of age-0 black crappie diets containing crustacean zooplankton,
macroinvertebrates, and fish during May, August, and October 2000 and 2001.
No age-0 black crappie were sampled during August 2000 from Lake Tarpon.
The number above the columns indicates the number of diets analyzed in each
month.


MAY


0,

U
U
U
O
O
>.
O


" OCT
I-,I
U-


2001









Table 1. Annual mean levels of chlorophyll a (Chl a), total phosphorus (TP), total
nitrogen (TN), and secchi depth (cm) of Lakes Lochloosa, Tarpon, and
Wauburg for 2000 and 2001. Lakes Lochloosa and Wauburg data were from
Florida Lakewatch (2001) and Lake Tarpon data were from Pinellas County
Department of Environmental Management (unpublished data). Monthly
samples (Jan-Dec) were collected from 3 sites at Lake Tarpon and 4 sites from
Lake Wauburg in both years. In Lake Lochloosa, samples in 2000 were
collected monthly at 4 sites except February secchi and November and
December for all parameters. Due to low water levels in Lake Lochloosa in
2001, sampling protocol was reduced to two monthly water samples in
February and August and one secchi depth reading in February. Percent of lake
volume inhabited by macrophytes (PVI) was determined in Lochloosa, Tarpon,
and Wauburg during May, October, and June of 2001, respectively. Dynamic
ratio estimates are from Bachmann et al. (2000).

Lochloosa Tarpon Wauburg
Surface area (ha) 2286 1030 150

Mean water depth (m) 2.0 2.5 3.0

Chl a (pg/L)
2000 254 33 61
2001 138 29 83
TP (pg/L)
2000 96 40 94
2001 90 43 115
TN (pg/L)
2000 5275 1222 1445
2001 3824 1114 1793
Secchi Depth (cm)
2000 26 82 72
2001 40 85 61

PVI (%) 5.0 4.3 0.6

Dynamic ratio (km/m) 2.39 1.26 0.41







30


Table 2. Pearson correlations between fall juvenile black crappie abundance (October
age-0 CPM) and both larval density (fish/1000 m3) and juvenile abundance
(May CPM) in the three study lakes (N).


Sample type
Abundance parameter


Large bottom trawl
October age-0 CPM
2000 2001
N=3 N=3


Surface trawl r 0.122 -0.206
Larval fish/1000 m3 P 0.922 0.868

Small bottom trawl r 0.999 0.992
May age-0 CPM P 0.008 0.082















DISCUSSION

Age-0 black crappie abundance and size during fall was not related to crustacean

zooplankton abundance through summer among the three lakes. Age-0 black crappie at

Lake Lochloosa were small compared to the other two lakes, but zooplankton density was

highest at this lake in both years. Conversely, Lake Tarpon had the largest age-0 black

crappie, but low zooplankton densities relative to the other two lakes. Lake Wauburg had

higher abundances and intermediate size of age-0 black crappie and intermediate

zooplankton abundance. Pope and Willis (1998) found no relation between crappie

abundance and crustacean zooplankton size or abundance in two South Dakota systems

over a three-year period. However, a weak correlation between zooplankton abundance

and larval crappie density in Normandy Reservoir, Tennessee was reported by Sammons

et al. (2001). Crustacean zooplankton densities (range 44 89 org/L) in Normandy

Reservoir were lower than in South Dakota (50-700 org/L, Pope and Willis 1998). The

lakes I evaluated were eutrophic/hypereutrophic and contained high crustacean

zooplankton densities (50-1300 org/L). Thus, crustacean zooplankton densities did not

appear to limit age-0 black crappie abundance or size in this study. Systems with greater

crustacean zooplankton densities (i.e., more than 50 org/L) may not be zooplankton

limited compared to systems that contain low abundance of crustacean zooplankton.

I found a correlation between abundance of age-0 black crappie in May and stock

abundance the previous fall among the three lakes. Similarly, Allen and Miranda (1998)

documented Ricker-type stock recruitment relations for crappies in four southeastern









reservoirs. Because my study only contained six lake-years of data (3 lakes and 2 years),

I was unable to develop a stock-recruitment curve. However, a positive relation existed

between stock and recruits in this study, and stock abundance during fall explained about

63% of the variation in early-summer age-0 black crappie abundance among lakes.

Population bottlenecks often regulate rates of mortality and growth in juvenile fish

(Diana 1995). Although bottlenecks in survival may occur during summer in juvenile

largemouth bass (Olson 1996; Ludsin and DeVries 1997) and bluegill Lepomis

macrochirus (Cargnelli and Gross 1996), I found no evidence of a summer bottleneck for

age-0 black crappie. Fall abundance of age-0 black crappie was strongly related to

juvenile abundance during early summer among the study lakes. Because early summer

catch rates were highly correlated to fall catch rates, zooplankton abundance during

summer appeared adequate for high survival. Thus, age-0 black crappie fall abundance

was set by early summer in both years.

Larval black crappie densities were not related to CPM of juvenile black crappie

during early summer (May) or fall (October). Larval black crappie densities at Lake

Lochloosa were higher than Lake Wauburg whereas juvenile black crappie were most

abundant at Lake Wauburg. Higher larval black crappie catch rates at Lake Lochloosa

may have resulted from the lake being shallow relative to Lake Wauburg (2 m vs 3 m)

i.e., the neuston net sampled a larger portion of the water column relative to Lake

Wauburg. Although I collected larval black crappie (7 to 15 mm) with the neuston net

throughout the spring, I did not assess the survival of larval crappie to the juvenile stage.

Therefore, mortality of larval black crappie may have occurred during spring of each year

prior to recruitment of fish to the small bottom trawl sampling gear. Alternately, larval









sampling during daylight hours may have been less effective as compared to night

sampling by Sammons and Bettoli (1998). It is possible that the neuston net may have

ineffectively collected larval black crappie and confounded the relationship between

larval and age-0 fall abundance at the three study lakes.

I detected differences in fall size structure of black crappie among lakes. However,

fall size structure may not have been indicative of growth rates because differences in

hatching duration may have contributed to the differences in size among age-0 black

crappie. Black crappie began hatching at similar times, however, larval crappie (< 15

mm) were present longer at Lake Lochloosa in both years. The extended occurrence of

larval fish could have resulted from a protracted hatching period at Lake Lochloosa. This

difference may be related to the resulting fall size structure of the study lakes (i.e., late-

hatched fish may represent the smaller fish in the sample). At Lake Tarpon, no larval fish

were caught in 2000, likely due to low abundance.

Age-0 black crappie size differences among lakes may be attributed to the amount

of large zooplankton consumed. Juvenile black crappie at Lakes Tarpon and Wauburg

consumed more large zooplankton in early summer and obtained a larger modal size by

fall than juvenile black crappie at Lake Lochloosa. In comparison, juvenile bloater

Coregonus hoyi that consumed large prey items achieved greater size than bloaters in

aquaria without large prey available (Miller et al. 1990). Therefore, juvenile black

crappie that consumed more large zooplankton in early summer may have had a size

advantage by fall.

Growth of young and adult crappies has been shown to be density dependent in

some lakes and reservoirs (Swingle and Swingle 1967; Allen et al. 1998). However, I









found little evidence of density-dependent growth due to zooplankton abundance among

lakes. Lake Tarpon had the largest age-0 black crappie and the lowest zooplankton

density in this study, but Lake Wauburg had higher zooplankton density and intermediate

age-0 black crappie size among the three lakes. Zooplankton abundance was generally

highest at Lake Lochloosa where age-0 black crappie were smallest in October. Thus,

my expectation that age-0 black crappie size would be greater at lakes with higher

zooplankton densities was not evident in this study.

Results of diet analysis of juvenile black crappie among the three lakes revealed

similar prey composition as found in previous studies (Siefert 1968; Tucker 1972, Schael

et al. 1991; DeVries et al. 1998, Pine and Allen 2001). Primarily large crustacean

zooplankton, especially calanoid copepods, were positively selected by juvenile black

crappie in the study lakes. However, preferred-size zooplankton densities were generally

higher at Lake Lochloosa where juvenile black crappie size was smaller by fall when

compared to the other two lakes. Pine and Allen (2001) found no significant differences

in calanoid copepod densities through summer at Lake Wauburg, yet there were different

growth rates between early and late age-0 black crappie cohorts, likely due to water

temperature.

Differences in water clarity (i.e., secchi depth) may have contributed to the

observed variation in age-0 black crappie sizes by fall among the study lakes. Reduced

water clarity can be caused by phytoplankton production (Brown et al. 2000) and

sediment resuspension (Bachmann et al. 2000) and may negatively influence foraging

efficiency of larval fish, including black crappie (Mitzner 1991). Barefield and Ziebell

(1986) demonstrated that the number of large zooplankton (Daphnia pulex 2.0-2.5 mm)









ingested by crappies (100-150 mm) was reduced as turbidity increased in a laboratory

environment. Striped bass larvae ate fewer copepods as turbidity increased although the

size of copepods consumed did not vary (Breitburg 1988). Miner and Stein (1993)

suggested that larval bluegill growth may be negatively affected by turbidity. However,

Miner and Stein (1993) also demonstrated the importance of contrast in the background

to highlight transparent zooplankton. Thus, there may be a threshold in turbidity as

suggested by Mitzner (1995) that provides optimum foraging for larval crappie.

The dynamic ratio (km/m) (Bachmann et al. 2000) indicates how likely shallow

lakes are susceptible to turbulence and sediment resuspension due to wind. Bachmann et

al. (2000) indicated that a lake with a dynamic ratio, (the square root of lake surface area

in square kilometers divided by mean depth in meters), greater than 0.8 km/m may be

prone to sediment resuspension. In addition, the percent of lake volume inhabited by

macrophytes (PVI) may alter the dynamic ratio (e.g., high macrophyte abundance may

buffer the turbulence generated by the wind, thereby overestimating the dynamic

ratio)(Bachmann et al. 2000). Calculating the dynamic ratio for each study lake, Lake

Wauburg had the lowest value at 0.41 km/m, Lake Tarpon was intermediate at 1.26

km/m, and Lake Lochloosa had the highest value at 2.39 km/m. Secchi depths were

lower at Lake Lochloosa than at Lakes Tarpon and Wauburg in both years and PVI

values in all lakes were relatively low. With low secchi depths and low PVI, it is

possible that reduced water clarity at Lake Lochloosa may have resulted from a high

dynamic ratio and associated sediment resuspension. In addition to potential wind

resuspension of bottom sediments, chlorophyll values at Lake Lochloosa (> 100 [tg/L)

were higher than Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon (70 and 30 ag/L, respectively). Thus, both









physical (i.e., dynamic ratio) and biotic (i.e., chlorophyll) characteristics indicate that

visibility and associated feeding efficiency of age-0 black crappie at Lake Lochloosa may

have been lower than at Lakes Wauburg and Tarpon.

There is a need to determine the feeding success of age-0 black crappie on

zooplankton prey in environments with varying water clarity (turbidity). Although

Barefield and Ziebell (1986) evaluated feeding rates at different turbidities, the size of

zooplankton prey (Daphnia pulex, 2.0-2.5 mm) they used was relatively large compared

to prey types in my study lakes. Results of such a study would increase our

understanding of the influence of turbidity on growth and survival of age-0 black crappie.

Many previous studies have shown that ontogenetic diet shifts can affect the growth

and survival of age-0 fish. For example, dramatic increases in age-0 largemouth bass

growth rates occur after a diet switch to macroinvertebrates whereas no diet shift causes

poor fish growth and survival (Olson 1996, Ludsin and DeVries 1997). Northern pike

Esox lucius require a shift from zooplankton prey to macroinvertebrates during early life

prior to their shift to piscivory (Bry et al. 1995). Conversely, studies that observed a diet

switch to macroinvertebrates by yellow perch Perca flavescens have shown conflicting

results. Cobb and Watzin (1998) observed faster yellow perch growth rates when

macroinvertebrates were consumed. However, juvenile yellow perch (> 30 mm TL)

growth rates decreased when the proportion of benthic prey items increased at Lake

Mendota, Wisconsin (Wu and Culver 1992). In this study, occurrence of

macroinvertebrates in diets of black crappie size increased with fish size consistent with

findings of previous studies (Tucker 1972; Ellison 1984). However, age-0 black crappie

were smaller by fall at Lake Lochloosa than Lake Tarpon although macroinvertebrates









occurred commonly in the diets of fish from both lakes. Additionally, crustacean

zooplankton occurred more often than macroinvertebrates in age-0 black crappie diets at

Lake Wauburg, yet modal fish size was intermediate. Thus, a diet switch to

macroinvertebrates by age-0 black crappie at all lakes did not translate to large size by

fall as observed in studies of other predators (Bry et al. 1995; Olson 1996). However,

macroinvertebrates and fish were present in age-0 black crappie diets at Lake Tarpon and

crappie size by fall was greater than the other two lakes. Therefore, it appears that some

age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon may have benefited from a diverse diet of

zooplankton, macroinvertebrates, and fish by October. However, I did not assess

macroinvertebrate or forage fish density among lakes and thus was unable to relate black

crappie size and abundance to macroinvertebrate or forage fish abundance.

Age-0 black crappie abundance and size was not related to crustacean zooplankton

density in highly productive natural lakes in Florida. Although crustacean zooplankton

abundance was not related to age-0 black crappie abundance or size, I observed large

differences in fall size and abundance of black crappie among the study lakes. Abiotic

factors (e.g., reduced water clarity) may have reduced successful capture of crustacean

zooplankton, especially at Lake Lochloosa, with negative consequences for growth of

larval crappie in this lake. Juvenile black crappie abundances were also influenced by the

abundance of adult black crappie the previous fall.















MANAGEMENT IMPLICATIONS

Age-0 black crappie abundance and size was variable at productive lakes in Florida.

For example, age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon exhibited larger size than Lakes

Lochloosa and Wauburg during both study years, some reaching 18 cm by October.

These sizes are more common in black crappie older than age-0 (Carlander 1977; Allen et

al. 1998), thus crappie in Lake Tarpon may attain a harvestable size faster than other

crappie populations. Harvest of these fish during a winter fishery at Lake Tarpon may

reduce the potential number of spawning individuals the following year (Webb and Ott

1991). Age-0 black crappie at Lake Tarpon might be protected by imposing a length

limit, potentially increasing their contribution to the reproductive population. Crappie

populations with fast growth rates and low abundance, such as Lake Tarpon, may benefit

from the implementation of harvest regulations. Conversely, implementing regulations

on lakes or reservoirs with a high crappie abundance and/or small size, such as Lakes

Wauburg and Lochloosa, may not be beneficial.

I found that mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in May was highly correlated with

fall abundance among the three lakes in both years. Thus, year class strength of fish

entering fall appeared to be set by May in both years. Larval fish densities, as determined

from neuston net samples during spring, were not a reliable index of year class strength

by fall as shown by Sammons and Bettoli (1998) in Tennessee. Thus, fishery managers

might be better served by conducting bottom trawls in early summer to assess black

crappie year class strength in Florida lakes.









Mean CPM of age-0 black crappie in May was strongly related to adult black

crappie abundance in the previous fall. Thus, fall adult crappie stock abundance may

depict juvenile crappie abundance the following summer. Hence, fall stock abundance

may partially explain abundance of juvenile black crappie in Florida lakes. However, the

interaction between stock densities and variable environmental conditions strongly

influences crappie recruitment (Allen and Miranda 2001). Future studies that evaluate

stock-recruitment relationships with abiotic effects are needed to further understand the

mechanisms that result in variation in crappie recruitment.















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Kevin J. Dockendorfwas born on February 15, 1973, in Iowa City, Iowa, the son of

Tom and Helen Dockendorf. He was raised in the rural community of New Hampton,

Iowa, with two brothers, Jeff and Brad. He graduated from Iowa State University with a

B.S. in fisheries and wildlife biology in May 1996. He was a fisheries technician with

the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and the Illinois Natural History Survey during

1996-2000. In February 2000, he began graduate work evaluating black crappie

recruitment in the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences at the University of

Florida. In December 2002, he will graduate with his Master of Science degree. His

future plans include getting married in June 2003 and pursuing a career as a fisheries

management biologist within a state agency.