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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Seasonal Dynamics of Blue Suckers Cycleptus Elongatus Inhabiting Great-river Tributaries in Missouri

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AUTHORS: Brandon Brooke, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia; Randy Kramer, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia; Corey Dunn, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia; Craig Paukert, US Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia

ABSTRACT: Blue Sucker Cycleptus elongatus is a large migratory species facing declines throughout much of its geographic range. While Blue Sucker remain common in mainstem great rivers of Missouri, little is known about the timing and extent of tributary use. Insights can be gained from seasonal comparisons of population characteristics within tributaries. Here we ask, 1) Does occupancy and abundance of Blue Sucker vary seasonally across all sites and tributaries? 2) What were the condition, and age and size structure of Blue Suckers inhabiting the Grand River, Missouri? and 3) Were population characteristics seasonally variable? From summer 2014–spring 2016 we used a standardized protocol, which included boat electrofishing, benthic trawling, and hoops nets to sample fish within tributaries. Blue Suckers were collected from five of nine sites and four of six rivers. Occupancy (percentage of sites occupied) and abundance were generally highest in spring. Blue Suckers (N=57) ranged from 481–796 mm total length (625 mm ± 71 mm [mean ± SD]). Using estimated ages from pectoral rays interpreted by three readers, Blue Suckers (N = 53) were all likely mature ranging from 3 to 27 years old with a mean age of 10.53 years (SD = 5.5). In spring the population consisted of larger (ANOVA, p < 0.05) and older (ANOVA, p < 0.1) fish. Relative weight was lowest in spring during spawning season (Wr = 0.84) and significantly lower than relative weights in summer and fall (ANOVA, p < 0.01). Our results suggest that Blue Sucker population characteristics varied seasonally and by tributary, and likely resulted from immigration into tributaries by larger reproductively active fish in spring, which underscores the importance of connectivity for fish dispersal throughout tributary networks.

Tuesday February 7, 2017 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Lancaster Ballroom

Attendees (3)