Kaskaskia Biological Station

Sullivan, IL, United States

Kaskaskia Biological Station

Sullivan, IL, United States

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Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Wahl D.H.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Wolfe M.D.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Wolfe M.D.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | And 2 more authors.
Hydrobiologia | Year: 2011

The role of trophic cascades in structuring freshwater communities has been extensively studied. Most of this work, however, has been conducted in oligotrophic northern lakes that contain highly vulnerable cyprinid prey: aquatic communities where trophic interactions are likely to be stronger than in many other systems. Fewer studies have been conducted in eutrophic systems or have examined the bottom-up effects of benthivorous fishes, and none have directly compared these effects to those of piscivores on ecosystem structure and function. We conducted enclosure experiments in eutrophic ponds to examine trophic effects of invasive benthivores (common carp-Cyprinus carpio L.), native piscivores (largemouth bass-Micropterus salmoides [Lacepède]), and their interactions with common centrarchid prey with well-developed anti-predatory behaviors (age-1 bluegill-Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque and young-of-year largemouth bass). At the end of the 60-day experiment, common carp had strong bottom-up effects that increased total phosphorus and turbidity while decreasing chlorophyll a biomass and macrophyte cover that resulted in decreased macroinvertebrate biomass and also decreased growth in both juvenile largemouth bass and bluegill. Piscivorous largemouth bass, however, did not affect the survival of either planktivorous juvenile largemouth bass or bluegill. Growth of juvenile largemouth bass was also not affected, but juvenile bluegill growth was significantly diminished, possibly due to nonconsumptive effects of predation. Our results suggest that, in a centrarchid-dominated eutrophic system, top-down effects of predators are overwhelmed by common carp-mediated bottom-up effects. These bottom-up effects strongly affected multiple trophic levels, thus altering aquatic community structure and function. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


O'Connor C.M.,Carleton University | O'Connor C.M.,McMaster University | Nannini M.,Sam Parr Biological Station | Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A: Ecological Genetics and Physiology | Year: 2013

Experimental implants were used to investigate the effect of elevated cortisol (the primary stress hormone in teleost fish) on energetic and physiological condition prior to reproduction in male and female largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides). Fish were wild-caught from lakes in Illinois, and held in experimental ponds for the duration of the study. Between 9 and 13 days after cortisol treatment, and immediately prior to the start of the reproductive period, treated and control animals were sampled. Females exhibited lower muscle lipid content, lower liver glycogen content, and higher hepatosomatic indices than males, regardless of treatment. Also, cortisol-treated females had higher hepatosomatic indices and lower final mass than control females, whereas males showed no differences between treatment groups. Finally, cortisol-treated females had higher gonadal cortisol concentrations than control females. In general, we found evidence of reduced energetic stores in female fish relative to male fish, likely due to timing differences in the allocation of resources during reproduction between males and females. Perhaps driven by the difference in energetic reserves, our data further suggest that females are more sensitive than males to elevated cortisol during the period immediately prior to reproduction. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


Shoup D.E.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Shoup D.E.,Oklahoma State University | Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society | Year: 2011

For many species of fish, size-specific overwinter mortality is an important factor structuring year-class strength. Protracted spawning by bluegill Lepomis macrochirus leads to extreme variation in individual size going into winter that could result in strong, size-specific overwinter mortality, particularly in locations with limited food resources or long, cold winters. We performed laboratory trials to test the effects of winter temperature (4°C or 9°C) and food availability (food present or no food) on the survival of two size-classes (20-30 or 50-60 mm total length) of young-ofyear bluegills. Mortality was strongly size selective and appeared to be related to relative condition, suggesting that energy limitation was the primary mechanism of mortality. Fish of both sizes were less active at colder temperatures, leading to increased survival (presumably via reduced energy expenditure). Bluegills fed heavily in food treatments (wet weight/d consumed was typically 2-4% for both large and small fish in the warm treatment, 1-2.5% for small fish in the cold treatment, and 0.4-0.8% for large fish in the cold treatment) and experienced increased survival. However, small fish in all treatments had more than 55% mortality after 150 d, indicating that some of the mortality was not due to starvation. It appears that late-spawned, small fish are unlikely to survive lengthy periods of winter conditions and will therefore be selected against at northern latitudes. Mechanisms other than overwinter mortality that lead to increased lifetime reproductive success may explain the persistence of late-summer or fall spawning at these latitudes. © American Fisheries Society 2011.


Vanlandeghem M.M.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Carey M.P.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station
Ecology of Freshwater Fish | Year: 2011

In natural systems, prey frequently interact with multiple predators and the outcome often cannot be predicted by summing the effects of individual predator species. Multiple predator interactions can create emergent effects for prey, but how those change across environmental gradients is poorly understood. Turbidity is an environmental factor in aquatic systems that may influence multiple predator effects on prey. Interactions between a cruising predator (largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides) and an ambush predator (muskellunge Esox masquinongy) and their combination foraging on a shared prey (bluegill Lepomis macrochirus) were examined across a turbidity gradient. Turbidity modified multiple predator effects on prey. In clear water, combined predators consumed in total more prey than expected from individual predator treatments, suggesting risk enhancement for prey. In moderately turbid water, the predators consumed fewer prey together than expected, suggesting a risk reduction for prey. At high turbidity, there were no apparent emergent effects; however, the cruising predator consumed more prey than the ambush predator, suggesting an advantage for this predator. Understanding multiple predator traits across a gradient of turbidity increases our understanding of how complex natural systems function. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


Bogner D.M.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Kaemingk M.A.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln | Wuellner M.R.,South Dakota State University
PLoS ONE | Year: 2016

Little is known about how hatch phenology (e.g., the start, peak, and duration of hatching) could influence subsequent recruitment of freshwater fishes into a population. We used two commonly sympatric fish species that exhibit different hatching phenologies to examine recruitment across multiple life stages. Nine yellow perch (Perca flavescens) and bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) annual cohorts were sampled from 2004 through 2013 across larval, age-0, age-1, and age-2 life stages in a Nebraska (U.S.A.) Sandhill lake. Yellow perch hatched earlier in the season and displayed a more truncated hatch duration compared to bluegill. The timing of hatch influenced recruitment dynamics for both species but important hatching metrics were not similar between species across life stages. A longer hatch duration resulted in greater larval yellow perch abundance but greater age-1 bluegill abundance. In contrast, bluegill larval and age-0 abundances were greater during years when hatching duration was shorter and commenced earlier, whereas age-0 yellow perch abundance was greater when hatching occurred earlier. As a result of hatch phenology, yellow perch recruitment variability was minimized sooner (age-0 life stage) than bluegill (age-1 life stage). Collectively, hatch phenology influenced recruitment dynamics across multiple life stages but was unique for each species. Understanding the complexities of when progeny enter an environment and how this influences eventual recruitment into a population will be critical in the face of ongoing climate change. © 2016 Müller et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Butler S.E.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Butler S.E.,Urbana University | Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Wahl D.H.,Urbana University
River Research and Applications | Year: 2011

Channel catfish Ictalurus punctatus is a highly mobile species and is known to make extensive seasonal movements in lotic systems. Dams have been suggested to detrimentally affect this species, although abundant channel catfish populations are known to occur in many fragmented rivers. To examine factors that allow channel catfish to persist in impounded rivers, we assessed relative abundance of channel catfish in three impounded and three flowing sites of the Fox River, Illinois, USA. Radiotelemetry was used to determine movement and habitat use patterns of channel catfish among flowing and impounded areas. Relative abundance of channel catfish was consistently higher at flowing sites than at impounded sites during summer. Several radio-tagged channel catfish moved downstream into impounded areas in fall, and all tagged individuals were found in impounded areas during winter. The majority of tagged channel catfish moved upstream into flowing areas during spring. Channel catfish used a wide range of depths (0.28-2.60m), and were always found in current velocities less than 0.50ms -1. They selected most strongly for coarse substrates, but were infrequently found near cover. Although low-head dams restrict the movements of channel catfish, impounded areas appear to provide overwintering habitats that may eliminate the need for seasonal long-distance movements. Small run-of-river impoundments, however, may contain unsuitable conditions for channel catfish during other seasons. © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


Einfalt L.M.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Grace E.J.,Urbana University | Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Wahl D.H.,Urbana University
Ecology of Freshwater Fish | Year: 2012

Predator-prey interactions can be influenced by the behaviour of individual species as well as environmental factors. We conducted laboratory experiments to test for the influences of two abiotic factors (light intensity and habitat complexity) on predator-prey interactions between walleye Sander vitreus and two prey species, bluegill Lepomis macrochirus and golden shiner Notemigonus crysoleucas. Three light intensities were simulated (day, twilight and night) in the presence or absence of simulated vegetation. Observations of predator behaviour indicated that walleye increased activity and foraging success with decreasing light levels and had most success capturing dispersed, closer prey. While schooling could not be maintained as light levels diminished, prey decreased predation vulnerability by moving into vegetation or higher in the water column. Throughout all treatments, bluegill were more evasive to capture as the number of strikes was similar on both prey but capture rates were higher for golden shiner. Although light intensity and simulated habitat complexity affected predator and prey behaviour, these factors did not interact to influence foraging success of walleye. To fully understand predator and prey behaviours in fishes, an understanding of species-specific responses to abiotic and biotic factors is necessary. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


Wolter M.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | DeBoom C.S.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station
North American Journal of Fisheries Management | Year: 2013

Muskellunge Esox masquinongy occur in many Midwestern reservoirs where dam escapement is often reported. Because densities of Muskellunge in many reservoirs are low, escapement is a concern. Little is known regarding the factors that influence rates of Muskellunge dam escapement or the proportion of reservoir populations that escape annually. We used controlled laboratory experiments to examine how juvenile Muskellunge interact with flow over a barrier at varying levels of turbidity, flow rate, habitat availability, and periods in the diel cycle. In the field we inserted PIT tags into juvenile and adult Muskellunge, monitored their escapement over a dam with an antenna array, and then compared escapement among demographic groups and described escapement in relation to precipitation events, water temperature, and water clarity. Both laboratory and field studies found Muskellunge were more likely to escape during the day than at night. We estimated that 25% of a reservoir Muskellunge population escaped within the 1-year period of this study, with escapement occurring during late spring but not during fall. Adults were more likely to escape than juveniles, and both sexes escaped at equal rates. Methods developed here can be used to provide useful information to managers and develop mitigation practices to limit escapement in situations where it is not desirable. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Wahl D.H.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Einfalt L.M.,Kaskaskia Biological Station | Wojcieszak D.B.,Kaskaskia Biological Station
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society | Year: 2012

We assessed predator acclimation as a technique to improve the poststocking survival of juvenile muskellunge Esox masquinongy and tiger muskellunge (muskellunge × northern pike E. lucius) in laboratory, pond, and lake experiments. For all experiments, a subset of esocids was exposed to feeding largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides (250-300 mm total length). In laboratory pools containing simulated vegetation (50% of pool), we tested the vulnerability of predator-acclimated and naive muskellunge and tiger muskellunge to largemouth bass predation. For both species, survival rates were similar regardless of predator experience. Predator-acclimated esocids, however, spent more time in the vegetation, indicating that exposure to predatorsmay alter some behaviors.We also introduced equal numbers of naive and predator-acclimated tiger muskellunge into ponds and lakes containing largemouth bass. To determine the number of surviving fish, ponds were drained after 7 d, whereas lakes were sampled immediately after stocking and throughout the fall.We found similar survival rates between naive and predator-acclimated individuals, suggesting that predator acclimation techniques that are successful with other species are not effective in reducing losses of stocked muskellunge and tiger muskellunge. ©American Fisheries Society 2012.


PubMed | Kaskaskia Biological Station
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Fish physiology and biochemistry | Year: 2015

Due to concerns of global climate change, additional research is needed to quantify the thermal tolerance of species, and how organisms are able to adapt to changes in thermal regime. We quantified the thermal tolerance and thermal stress response of a temperate sportfish from two different thermal environments. One group of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) inhabited thermally enhanced reservoirs (used for power plant cooling), with water temperatures typically 2-5C warmer than nearby reservoirs. We tested fish for chronic thermal maxima and reaction to an 8C heat shock using three common physiological indices of stress. We observed no evidence of differences between groups in thermal maxima. We observed no differences in thermal maxima between fish from artificially warmed and natural systems. Our results disagree with research, suggesting differences due to adaptation to different thermal environments. We speculate that behavioral modifications, lack of adequate time for genetic divergence, or the robust genetic plasticity of largemouth bass explain the lack of difference between treatment groups.

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