Exploring establishment potential of Bighead Carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) in the Canadian Great Lakes under climate change


Bighead Carp are a fast-growing, voracious, and highly invasive species of fish that occur throughout the Mississippi River in the United States. Today, they have the potential to expand northwards and enter the Canadian Great Lakes, where they may encounter environmental conditions that can affect their growth and maturation. Populations of Bighead Carp in colder climates have been shown to grow slower, and mature later in life; however, under the projected warming from climate change, faster growth, and earlier maturation may become possible in the Great Lakes. This study presents a stage-based matrix population model that considers varying ages of maturity, growth, and associated survival and fecundity parameters that change with temperature. Population growth simulations show that early maturation results in faster population establishment; however, anticipated climate change may not be sufficient to induce early maturation in the near future. Alternatively, model outputs show that the most influential factor upon the rate of establishment for Bighead Carp is the fecundity of the founding individuals

Orillia, Ontario, Canada