Introduced Yellow Perch in Lake Martin and Yates Lake, Alabama: Interactions with Native Fishes
Type of Degreethesis
Fisheries and Allied Aquacultures
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Yellow perch has been introduced into Southeastern US drainages outside its native range. In Alabama, established populations now exist in Lake Martin and Yates Lake. Here, I determined how yellow perch might influence resident fishes in these reservoirs. I sampled all life stages of yellow perch and resident fishes with diverse sampling gears, conducted age-and-growth analyses, and quantified diets over two years. Yellow perch were more abundant and older in Yates Lake than in Lake Martin. Co-occurrence was limited between larval yellow perch and native fishes. Diet overlap was also generally low at older life stages. Juvenile yellow perch were consumed by Micropterus spp. in both lakes during spring, suggesting potential benefits. I suggest minimal negative effects of yellow perch on native fishes due to their generalist diet, early spawning period, and cool water temperature requirements. As prey, yellow perch may have positive influences on some native fishes.