Fish growth and degree-days I: Selecting a base temperature for a within-population study

Kyle A. Chezik, Nigel P. Lester, Paul A Venturelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Degree-days (DD) are an increasingly popular method for explaining variation in fish growth and development. By including a base temperature (To) the DD formula limits calculations to temperatures that are relevant to growth. However, our review of growth studies shows multiple To values in use for a given fish species. To determine how To affects the ability of DD to explain within-population growth variation, we first show that the ability of DD to describe a growing season is robust to low values of To.We then analyze immature length data from eight species and 85 water bodies in North America to show that there is a broad range of To values that effectively explain growth variation. Based on these results, we argue that precise To estimates are unwarranted for most single-population studies and recommend standard To values (0, 5, 10, 15 °C). Standardization facilitates comparative studies and promotes the use of DD in future research. To this end, we provide equations for converting annual DD at a given To to annual DD at a standard To.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-55
Number of pages9
JournalCanadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 10 2014


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