Is Catch and Release Angling a Potential Disturbance Of Recruitment Processes? The Importance Of Parental Care In Determining Largemouth Bass Recruit Abundance

Thursday, September 12, 2013: 8:40 AM
Marriott Ballroom A (The Marriott Little Rock)
Jeffrey A. Stein , Prairie Research Institute, Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL
David P. Philipp , Prairie Research Institute, Illinois Natural History Survey, Champaign, IL
Traditional research approaches examining variation in recruitment dynamics in largemouth bass have largely focused on evaluating factors influencing growth and survival of young-of-the-year during the first summer and winter of life.  This approach has largely ignored the importance of parental care behaviors in determining reproductive success and ultimately abundance of potential recruits.   Using a conceptual model for largemouth bass recruitment as a framework, we examined the relative influence of brood predation, angling catch rates, and reproductive success on recruit abundance using a combination of manipulative experiments, field studies and model selection analyses.   Physical removal of 50% of embryos from all nests in experimental ponds resulted in a significant reduction in fall recruit abundance and biomass when compared to control ponds. Experimental angling of nesting male bass in the wild resulted in high levels of brood predation on unattended nests, indicating that even rapid release of angled nesting bass can result in reduced reproductive output.  Model selection analyses demonstrate the influence of angling catch rates and brood predator densities on recruit abundance, indicating the relative importance of offspring survival at different life stages in determining recruit abundance.