Spatial structuring of length-at-age of the benthivorous white sucker (Catostomus commersoni) in relation to environmental variables
Fisheries and Marine Institute, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Newfoundland A1C 5R3, Canada
2 Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1A1, Canada
Accepted: 29 November 1999
Great variations were observed in length-at-age among populations of white sucker, Catostomus commersoni, in 32 Ontario lakes. The spatial structuring of these data was examined using the Mantel test with respect to the corresponding spatial structuring for various environmental variables which might affect growth of the white sucker. These environmental variables include lake geographic location, lake morphometry, water chemistry, food supply, presence/absence of major predator species, and population density and length at sexual maturity of the white sucker. Geographic distances among lakes and among-lake differences in water chemistry were significantly related to among-population differences in length-at-age. Among-lake differences in lake morphometric variables, benthos densities, presence/absence of predator species, and length at maturity and population density of the white sucker were not significantly related to among-population differences in length-at-age. No sex-specific differences in the effects of environmental variables on length-at-age were observed. This study suggests that the among-lake differences in water chemistry (thus, physiological stresses) and isolation-by-distance (thus, genetic forces) are the two most important factors in patterning the large variations in length-at-age among white sucker populations. However, discerning the separate effect of each of these two factors is not possible because the spatial patterns of these two factors are related.
Key words: Freshwater fish / length-at-age / environmental variables / spatial structuring / Mantel test / distance matrix / Catostomus commersoni / Ontario lakes / Canada
© Elsevier, Inra, Ifremer, Cemagref, Cnrs, Ird, 1999