Relative Growth and Survival of Juvenile Black, White, and Blacknose Black Crappie in Experimental Ponds

Thursday, August 21, 2014: 4:00 PM
302A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Jeffrey Gring , Natural Resources and Environmental Science, Illinois Natural History Survey and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL
David H. Wahl , Kaskaskia Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Sullivan, IL
Although historical stocking of crappie has not been widespread, it has recently gained popularity for managing populations in systems with poor recruitment and high angling pressure.  Because of the need to differentiate stocked from naturally produced individuals in order to evaluate stocking success, management agencies began culturing blacknose black crappie (hereafter blacknose crappie), a phenotypic variant of black crappie.  Anecdotal evidence suggests that blacknose crappie exhibit increased growth and survival over black crappie in hatchery environments.  We compared age-0 growth and survival of black, white, and blacknose crappie in 0.04-ha experimental ponds using a common garden approach.  Forty individuals of each strain were stocked in each of ten experimental ponds and growth and survival were recorded after three months.  Throughout the experiment, a suite of environmental variables was measured in each pond in order to associate between-pond variation in growth rates with biotic and abiotic factors.  No differences in survival were found between the species/strains, but black and blacknose crappie grew significantly faster than white crappie.  Understanding differences in growth and survival among juvenile black, white, and blacknose crappie in a controlled setting, as well as the environmental factors driving these differences, will aid management decisions about crappie stocking.