Jump to Main Content
Effects of Suspended Sediment on Early Life Stages of Smallmouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu)
- Suedel, Burton C., Wilkens, Justin L., Kennedy, Alan J.
- Archives of environmental contamination and toxicology 2017 v.72 no.1 pp. 119-131
- Micropterus dolomieu, eggs, exposure scenario, fish larvae, sediments, suspended sediment, total suspended solids, Lake Erie, Lake Michigan
- The resuspension of sediments caused by activities, such as dredging operations, is a concern in Great Lakes harbors where multiple fish species spawn. To address such concerns, smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu) were exposed to uncontaminated suspended sediment (nominally 0, 100, 250, and 500 mg/L) continuously for 72 h to determine the effects on egg-hatching success and swim-up fry survival and growth. The test sediments were collected from two harbors: (1) fine-grained sediment in Grand Haven Harbor, Lake Michigan, and (2) coarser-grained sediment in Fairport Harbor, Lake Erie. Eggs exposed to total suspended solids (TSS) concentrations >100 mg/L resulted in decreased survival of post-hatch larval fish. Fry survival was >90 % at the highest exposure concentration (500 mg/L), but growth was decreased when the exposure concentration was >100 mg/L. Growth and survival of swim-up fry held for a 7- and 26-day post-exposure the grow-out period was variable suggesting that the sediment grain size and strain of fish may influence lingering effects after the cessation of exposure. The results suggest that exposed eggs hatched normally; however, newly hatched larvae, which are temporarily immobile, are more vulnerable to the effects of suspended sediment. The swim-up fry were found to be more sensitive to high TSS concentrations in sandy relative to silty sediment. These data represent a conservative exposure scenario that can be extrapolated to high-energy systems in the field to inform management decisions regarding the necessity for dredging windows or need to implement controls to protect M. dolomieu.