Apr 11, 2020

Morphology and Blood Metabolites Reflect Recent Spatial Differences Among Lake Winnipeg Walleye, Sander vitreus

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Matt J ThorstensenJ. R. Treberg


The invasive rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) was an abundant food source for Lake Winnipeg walleye (Sander vitreus), especially in the north basin of the lake, until the smelt's collapse in approximately 2013. We quantified changing length-at-age ({approx} growth rates) and relative mass ({approx} body condition) in Lake Winnipeg walleye caught for a gillnet index data set. Here, walleye showed smaller length-at-age, particularly in the north basin with young fish, over time. This approach to assessing growth suggests a constraint in the north basin fish, possibly a nutritional limitation between 2017 and 2018, that was not present in the south. We then analyzed a separate group of walleye ([≥] mm in fork length) sampled in 2017 as part of a large-scale tracking study, which had a similar slope in length-mass relationship to large walleye caught in that year for the gillnet index data. A panel of metabolites associated with amino acid metabolism and protein turnover was compared in whole blood. These metabolites revealed elevated essential amino acids and suggest protein degradation may be elevated in north basin walleye. Therefore, based on both growth estimates and metabolites associated with protein balance, we suggest the...Continue Reading

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