Modeling Larval American Shad Recruitment in a Large River
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Modeling Larval American Shad Recruitment in a Large River

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  • Journal Title:
    North American Journal of Fisheries Management
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    Climate change is altering the spatial and temporal patterns of temperature and discharge in rivers, which is expected to have implications for the life stages of anadromous fish using those rivers. We developed an individual‐based model to track American Shad Alosa sapidissima offspring within a coarse template of spatially and temporally variable habitat conditions defined by a combination of temperature, river velocity, and prey availability models. We simulated spawning at each river kilometer along a 142‐km reach of the Connecticut River on each day (April 1–August 31) to understand how spawning date and location drive larval recruitment differentially across years and decades (1993–2002 and 2007–2016). For both temperature and flow, interannual variation was large in comparison to interdecadal differences. Variation in simulated recruitment was best explained by a combination of season‐specific spawning temperature and location along the course of the river. The greatest potential recruitment occurred during years in which June temperatures were relatively high. In years when June and July were warmer than average, maximum recruitment resulted from spawning taking place at the upstream portion of the modeled reach. Model scenarios (stationary or passive‐drift larvae; and dams or no dams) had predictable effects. We assumed that the pools above dams had negative impacts on eggs and yolk‐sac larvae that may have been deposited there. Allowing eggs and larvae to drift passively with the current reduced spatial differences in recruitment success among spawning sites relative to stationary eggs and larvae. Our results demonstrate the importance of spatiotemporal environmental heterogeneity for producing positive recruitment over the long term. In addition, our results suggest the importance of successful passage of spawners to historical spawning sites in the Connecticut River upstream of Vernon Dam, especially as conditions shift with climate change.
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    North American Journal of Fisheries Management, 41(4), 939-954
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