Population Dynamics of Bowfin in a South Georgia Reservoir: Latitudinal Comparisons of Population Structure, Growth, and Mortality

The objectives of this study were to evaluate the population dynamics of bowfin (Amia calva) in Lake Lindsay Grace, Georgia, and to compare those dynamics to other bowfin populations. Relative abundance of bowfin sampled in 2010 in Lake Lindsay Grace was low and variable (mean±SD; 2.7±4.7 fish per hour of electrofishing). Total length (TL) of bowfin collected in Lake Lindsay Grace varied from 233-683 mm. Age of bowfin in Lake Lindsay Grace varied from 0-5 yr. Total annual mortality (A) was estimated at 68%. Both sexes appeared to be fully mature by age 2 with gonadosomatic index values above 8 for females and close to 1 for males. The majority of females were older, longer, and heavier than males. Bowfin in Lake Lindsay Grace had fast growth up to age 4 and higher total annual mortality than the other populations examined in this study. A chi-square test indicated that size structure of bowfin from Lake Lindsay Grace was different than those of a Louisiana population and two bowfin populations from the upper Mississippi River. To further assess bowfin size structure, we proposed standard length (i.e., TL) categories: stock (200 mm, 8 inches), quality (350 mm, 14 inches), preferred (460 mm, 18 inches), memorable (560 mm, 22, inches), and trophy (710 mm, 28 inches). Because our knowledge of bowfin ecology is limited, additional understanding of bowfin population dynamics provides important insight that can be used in management of bowfin across their distribution.

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