Data from: Age and growth of stocked juvenile Shoal Bass in a tailwater: environmental variation and accuracy of daily age estimates
Long, James; Porta, Michael (2019), Data from: Age and growth of stocked juvenile Shoal Bass in a tailwater: environmental variation and accuracy of daily age estimates , Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.7r5t6p5
Otolith microanalysis is often used to assess population age structure and growth of fishes during their early stages. Shoal Bass Micropterus cataractae is a recently described species of conservation concern and little is known regarding factors affecting their recruitment. In 2004, Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR) and the US National Park Service (NPS) stocked Shoal Bass marked with oxytetracycline (OTC) in the Chattahoochee River near Atlanta, Georgia in an effort to restore this population, creating known-age fish to examine the effect of environment on daily age accuracy. We obtained samples of stocked juvenile (<150 mm) Shoal Bass from standard monitoring that occurred approximately 30-60 days after stocking in the Chattahoochee River to 1) validate daily rings for estimating age, hatch dates, and growth rates for stocked age-0 Shoal Bass, and 2) evaluate the effect of habitat (location) on age bias. Shoal Bass otoliths were examined for OTC marks and daily rings were counted in reference to OTC marks to assess age estimation accuracy. Age estimation accuracy ranged from -2 to -25 days and was influenced by the environment where Shoal Bass were captured, with greater inaccuracy in colder water temperatures. Fish collected from locations with colder temperatures displayed closer spacing of daily rings, potentially leading to greater underestimation of age. Growth rates of stocked Shoal Bass, corrected for age estimation error, ranged from 0.5 mm/day to 0.8 mm/day. This study demonstrates the effect of environmental variability on age inaccuracy and subsequent interpretation of results. Incorporating methods to assess age estimation accuracy is needed to understand interspecific differences in recruitment among black bass species in the variety of natural and human-modified environments they inhabit.
U.S. Geological Survey, Award: G10AC00574