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Tuesday, January 30 • 10:20am - 10:40am
WALLEYE & PERCH: Forecasting the Impacts of Climate and Land-use Change on Percid Recruitment in Lake Erie

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AUTHORS. David A. Dippold, The Ohio State University; Noel Aloysius, The Ohio State University; Haw Yen, Texas A&M University; S. Conor Keitzer, Tusculum College; Jeff G. Arnold, USDA-ARS; Prasad Daggupati, Texas A&M University; Mike Fraker, The Ohio State University; Jay Martin, The Ohio State University; Charles A. Rewa, USDA-NRCS; Dale M. Robertson, USGS; Anthony M. Sasson, The Nature Conservancy; Scott P. Sowa, The Nature Conservancy; Mari-Vaughn V. Johnson, USDA-NRCS; Mike J. White, USDA-ARS; Stuart A. Ludsin, The Ohio State University

ABSTRACT. Climate and land-use change can affect fish populations by altering the environmental conditions critical for successful recruitment. Many ecosystems, like Lake Erie, are experiencing these stressors simultaneously, leading to the potential for additive, offsetting, and/or synergistic effects on the recruitment dynamics of commercially and recreationally harvested fish species. Therefore, a critical need for fisheries managers is to identify how these stressors may interact in the future to affect ecologically and economically important fisheries. Towards this end, we evaluated the potential effects of climate and land-use change on walleye and yellow perch recruitment in western Lake Erie. We used linked climate (n=20), watershed (Soil Water Assessment Tool), and biological (species-specific generalized additive models) models to forecast western Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch recruitment during 2017-2065 under combinations of two greenhouse gas emission and three nutrient conservation (abatement) scenarios. Our primary research goals were to (1) determine the relative impacts of climate and land-use on walleye and yellow perch recruitment, and to (2) forecast how changes in climate and land-use may alter future recruitment levels, relative to the past.  We found that climate change (specifically decreased winter severity) was the primary driver of forecasted declines in walleye and yellow perch recruitment, and that agricultural conservation practices that reduce runoff and phosphorus inputs into Lake Erie are expected to exacerbate this decline for yellow perch. Ultimately, our findings demonstrate the potential for the combined impacts of climatic and land-use change (nutrient conservation management) to affect fish communities in complex, unexpected ways, thus highlighting the need for managers to consider both stressors when planning for the future.   

Tuesday January 30, 2018 10:20am - 10:40am CST