Synchrony in larval yellow perch abundance: The influence of the moran effect during early life history

Daniel J. Dembkowski, David W. Willis, Melissa R. Wuellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Recruitment may vary substantially in fish populations, which can drive not only adult population characteristics but also the dynamics of fishes dependent on the species of interest and recreational fisheries for these species. However, spatiotemporal trends in population fluctuations and potential drivers of recruitment variability are poorly understood. Therefore, we used a long-term (2000-2014) data set to estimate the extent of spatial synchrony in larval abundance and factors influencing variability in recruitment of yellow perch (Perca flavescens). Contrary to the prevailing paradigm that spatial synchrony in population fluctuations (i.e., recruitment) is typically absent or occurs at small spatial scales (<50 km) for freshwater species, abundance of larval yellow perch was synchronous among spatially segregated systems across a geographic scale of at least 180 km. Additionally, variation in larval yellow perch density was influenced by spatially-correlated climatic and hydrological variables (indicative of the Moran Effect). Results ultimately broaden the scale at which factors were previously thought to influence recruitment of freshwater fishes and provide important insight to patterns and processes that structure yellow perch populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1567-1574
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Apr 19 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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