It’s Complicated and It Depends: A Review of the Effects of Ecosystem Changes on Walleye and Yellow Perch Populations in North America

Gretchen J.A. Hansen, Jenna Ruzich, Corey A. Krabbenhoft, Holly L Kundel, Shad Mahlum, Christopher I. Rounds, Amanda O. Van Pelt, Lawrence D. Eslinger, Dale E. Logsdon, Daniel A. Isermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Walleye Sander vitreus and Yellow Perch Perca flavescens are culturally, economically, and ecologically significant fish species in North America that are affected by drivers of global change. Here, we review and synthesize the published literature documenting the effects of ecosystem changes on Walleye and Yellow Perch. We focus on four drivers: climate (including temperature and precipitation), aquatic invasive species, land use and nutrient loading, and water clarity. We identified 1,232 tests from 370 papers, split evenly between Walleye (n = 613) and Yellow Perch (n = 619). Climate was the most frequently studied driver (n = 572), and growth or condition was the most frequently studied response (n = 297). The most commonly reported relationship was “no effect” (42% of analyses), usually because multiple variables were tested and only a few were found to be significant. Overall responses varied among studies for most species-response–driver combinations. For example, the influence of invasive species on growth of both Walleye and Yellow Perch was approximately equally likely to be positive, negative, or have no effect. Even when results were variable, important patterns emerged; for example, growth responses of both species to temperature were variable, but very few negative responses were observed. A few relationships were relatively consistent across studies. Invasive species were negatively associated with Walleye recruitment and abundance, and higher water clarity was negatively associated with Walleye abundance, biomass, and production. Some variability in responses may be due to differences in methodology or the range of variables studied; others represent true context dependence, where the effect of a driver depends on the influence of other variables. Using common metrics of impact, publishing negative results, and robust analytical approaches could facilitate comparisons among systems and provide a more comprehensive understanding of the responses of Walleye and Yellow Perch to ecosystem change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-506
Number of pages23
JournalNorth American Journal of Fisheries Management
Volume42
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the presenters and attendees of the System Change Effects on Percid Populations symposium at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in 2021. Thanks to members of the Hansen lab for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Financial support provided by the American Fisheries Society North Central Division Walleye Technical Committee. GJAH acknowledges the support of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project MIN-41-101. GJAH, JKR, and SM were supported in part by the Department of Interior's Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center project G20AC00457. CAK was supported by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission through project 2020_HAN_440920. HK was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. CON-75851, project 00074041. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. There is no conflict of interest declared in this article.

Funding Information:
We thank the presenters and attendees of the System Change Effects on Percid Populations symposium at the Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference in 2021. Thanks to members of the Hansen lab for their comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. Financial support provided by the American Fisheries Society North Central Division Walleye Technical Committee. GJAH acknowledges the support of the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch Project MIN‐41‐101. GJAH, JKR, and SM were supported in part by the Department of Interior's Midwest Climate Adaptation Science Center project G20AC00457. CAK was supported by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission through project 2020_HAN_440920. HK was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program under Grant No. CON‐75851, project 00074041. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Thanks also to two anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on an earlier version of this manuscript. There is no conflict of interest declared in this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Fisheries Society

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