Comparison of size, terminal fall velocity, and density of bighead carp, silver carp, and grass carp eggs for use in drift modeling

Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
By: , and 



Invasive Asian carp established in the United States spawn in the turbulent water of rivers, and their eggs and early larvae develop while drifting in the current. The eggs, which are believed to perish if they settle before hatching, are slightly denser than water and are held in suspension by water turbulence. It is possible to use egg drift modeling to assess the capability of a river to support the survival of Asian carp eggs. Detection of spawning and estimation of egg abundance in the drift are typically assessed by ichthyoplankton trawls. Correct sampling design and interpretation of trawl data require knowledge of the vertical distribution of eggs in the drift, which can be accomplished with particle transport models. Data that are required to populate models of egg drift and vertical distribution include physical properties of assessed rivers and information on egg size, density, and terminal fall velocity, but data on these egg characteristics have not been previously available. Physical characteristics of the eggs are presented as a function of postfertilization time. We recorded mean egg diameter and terminal fall velocity for eggs from each Asian carp species during the first 5 h of development and at approximately 12 and 22 h postfertilization. Eggs of all species reached their maximum size before 4 h. Water-hardened eggs of Silver Carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix and Grass Carp Ctenopharyngodon idella were similarly sized in our trials, and water-hardened eggs of Bighead Carp H. nobilis were the largest. After water hardening, Silver Carp eggs sank slowest, and Bighead Carp eggs sank fastest. For a given species, smaller-diameter eggs generally had faster terminal fall velocities and higher specific gravity than larger eggs. We provide regression models of egg density and diameter for all three species, discuss usage of these data in modeling the drift and dispersion of Asian carp eggs, and discuss implications for egg sampling design.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Comparison of size, terminal fall velocity, and density of bighead carp, silver carp, and grass carp eggs for use in drift modeling
Series title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
DOI 10.1080/00028487.2017.1310136
Volume 146
Issue 5
Year Published 2017
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis On-line
Contributing office(s) Columbia Environmental Research Center
Description 11 p.
First page 834
Last page 843
Country United States
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