Influence of lake surface area and total phosphorus on annual Bluegill growth in small impoundments of central Georgia
Sundmark, Aaron Patrick
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The relationships between environmental variables and the growth rates of fishes are important and rapidly expanding topics in fisheries ecology. In this study, I used an information-theoretic approach to evaluate the influence of lake surface area and total phosphorus on the age-specific growth rates of Bluegills Lepomis macrochirus in six small impoundments in Central Georgia. I used model averaging to create composite models and determine the relative importance of the variables within each model. Results from this study indicate that surface area was the most important factor in the models predicting growth of ages 1-4 Bluegills, and total phosphorus was the second most important factor in the models predicting growth of ages 1-4 Bluegills. These results suggest that managers can create predictive models to help develop lake-specific management plans that optimize local-level factors for promoting fast-growing Bluegills.