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Tuesday, February 7 • 6:00pm - 9:00pm
Poster Display. Ontogenetic Diet Shifts of Blue Catfish (Ictalurus Furcatus) Using Stable Isotope Analysis

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AUTHORS: Ashley L Stanley, Kibbe Field Station, Western Illinois University; James T Lamer, Kibbe Field Station, Western Illinois University; Mark W. Fritts, US Fish and Wildlife Service La Crosse, WI; Andrew F. Casper, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey; Katie Mainor, Kibbe Field Station Western Illinois University; Devon Oliver, Southern Illinois University; Neil Rude, Southern Illinois University; Greg Whitledge, Southern Illinois University



ABSTRACT: Blue catfish are predatory fish native to the Mississippi River Basin and valued as an economic and ecological resource. Traditional diet studies are limited by spatial and temporal variation, empty stomachs and lethal or invasive techniques. Here, we use stable isotopes to test for ontogenetic diet shifts in blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus). We followed fishing tournaments from Pool 20 to Memphis, Tennessee on the Mississippi River, received catfish samples from LTRMP monitoring in pool 26 and received samples from Southern Illinois University’s LTEF sampling. At each tournament we weighed and measured blue catfish and biopsied a 6 mm muscle plug. Catfish collected from Southern Illinois University and pool 26 were also weighed and measured and biopsied a 6mm muscle plug.The biopsy plugs were dried in a 100ºC oven then ground into a fine powder. The samples were sent to Southern Illinois University’s stable isotope lab for analysis with a mass spectrometer. We found that blue catfish are consuming similar diet items across all locations sampled. Blue catfish did not shift to just a piscivorous diet, but shifted to a higher variety of diet items at 200mm.  Juvenile catfish are possibly gape limited to macro-invertebrates, whereas adults are likely opportunistic and consume the most energy efficient prey source. In the future we will compare these results with extracted stomachs from commercial fishermen, as well as catfish diet data from other projects.

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

Attendees (3)