The degree-day (DD) is a method of describing the thermal opportunity for growth and development and is becoming increasingly popular when comparing fish growth over large spatial scales (e.g., counter-gradient growth). Temperatures too cold to permit growth are excluded in the DD equation by incorporating a lower temperature threshold (To). However, there is no convention for choosing To, and unknown is the effect of an incorrect To on how growth is perceived. We simulate data to demonstrate how an incorrect To may lead to differences in temperature-corrected growth rates among populations. These differences increase with the error in To and the thermal range among simulated populations. We then show the same relationships in an analysis of length-at-age data from 81 walleye (Sander vitreus) populations in North America. Together, our results demonstrate that differences in temperature-corrected growth rates among populations can be a statistical artifact rather than a biological phenomenon, especially when populations are distributed over a large thermal gradient.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences|
|State||Published - Sep 2014|