Community Size Spectra and its Applications towards Analyzing Characteristics of Six Michigan, Inland Freshwater Lakes
Woelke, Bradford J.
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Size based analysis is often employed in an attempt to understand the relationship between fishes and their environment, largely because size plays such a vital role in the interactions of different species of fish through predation and competition. One method commonly used in size based analysis is size spectra analysis, which utilizes total abundance and fish length, to create a single graphical representation of a given lake. The goal of this study was to investigate how different general lake characteristics affect these community size spectra of six Michigan, inland freshwater lakes. Fish were collected by use of a Kann electrofishing boat. All fish were weighed to the nearest gram and measured to the nearest mm, after which they were released. The results of this study indicate that lake area is negatively correlated with community size spectra elevation, which is indicative of ecosystem carrying capacity. This result is surprising, as it is unexpected expected that larger lake area correlates to a higher carrying capacity. Another significant finding was that community size spectra slope, an indicator of ecological efficiency, was negatively correlated to species richness. Further studies, encompassing a broader range of lake types, and an increase in sample size are recommended in order to either strengthen these findings.