Date of Award

May 2019

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Freshwater Sciences and Technology

First Advisor

Osvaldo J Sepulveda-Villet

Committee Members

Tammie Paoli, John Janssen


aquaculture, fisheries, yellow perch


Early life stages of fishes are critical stages due to their importance in enhancing recruitment. Given the high mortality through the embryonic and larval stages, managers have started investigating factors that impact these stages. Environmental factors, such as water temperature, have been found to play a larger role in early life survival. Climate change predications will be more apparent in northern temperate systems like the Great Lakes. Yellow perch (Perca flavescens) are an important sport fish in the region whose populations have been declining since the 1980s. The development of yellow perch as an aquaculture species has occurred in order to meet consumer demands. Yellow perch recruitment is highly erratic due to the species dependence on spring water temperatures. With warming waters occurring earlier in the seasons, it is unsure how wild yellow perch will adapt. The literature suggests that warming water temperatures could either improve or hinder yellow perch recruitment through early life stages. Even in aquaculture, larval survival is still low in tank cultured yellow perch. An importance has been placed on finding one rearing methodology that yields the highest production of larvae. The objective of this study was to determine how variations in temperature regimes during the egg incubation period would impact embryonic and larval development in yellow perch. Four different temperature treatments were used in this study. The results of this study confirm that water temperatures severely impact embryonic development and incubation periods of yellow perch. This study reveals that yellow perch are better adapted to withstand acute cold shifts in water temperature than acute warming events. The incorporation of cold shocks could yield higher percentages of viable larvae in tank cultured yellow perch if used in union with a gradual warming of water temperature during incubation. Climate change could potentially hinder an already struggling Lake Michigan yellow perch population causing a higher demand on producing more cultured yellow perch.

Included in

Evolution Commons