Statistical models relating the presence and abundance of young of the year (YOY) muskellunge to nursery features in the upper St. Lawrence River were developed to identify potential nursery habitat for its protection and to help guide future restoration efforts. Nursery features included metrics describing submerged aquatic vegetation, water depth, and composition of the fish community. The best mid and late summer models were selected using Akaike’s Information Criterion (AICc). Fine-leafed and broad-leafed vegetation were important variables predicting muskellunge presence and abundance. Competitors (other esocids and bass) played a variable role and yellow perch a negative role in predicting YOY muskellunge. Recent declines of YOY muskellunge may be attributed to the introduction of round goby in nursery habitats or recent mortality of spawning adults. Prediction of muskellunge presence and abundance by all models was poor. Power analysis suggests the number of vegetation quadrats sampled per seine haul should be increased.
Keywords: AIC; aquatic vegetation; model selection; model evaluation; muskellunge; St. Lawrence River, young of the year.
|Advisor:||Farrell, John M.|
|Commitee:||Brunner, Jesse, Frair, Jacqueline L., Schulz, Kimberly L.|
|School:||State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry|
|Department:||Environmental & Forest Biology|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 47/05M, Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Aquatic vegetation, Muskellunge, St. Lawrence River|
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