COLUMBUS, OH. (AP) — Climate change may be harming yellow perch, the most popular sport fish in Lake Erie.
A newly released study by Ohio State University says warmer water temperatures can make it harder for perch eggs and larvae to survive.
Researchers collected lake perch and exposed some to conditions reflecting Lake Erie’s historic winter cold. Others were exposed to warmer temperatures recorded in recent years.
Females exposed to warm, short winter conditions produced as many eggs as those experiencing a long winter. But the warm-water eggs were smaller and didn’t hatch as well. Those that did hatch produced unusually small larvae.
Investigator Stuart Ludsin says the study also showed that perch don’t adjust their spawning to match earlier spring-like temperatures. That could leave their hatchlings short of food and vulnerable to predators.