Swimming Performance of Bighead Carp and Silver Carp: Methodology, Metrics, and Management Applications
AQUATIC NUISANCE SPECIES PROGRAM VICKSBURG MS
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This study summarizes laboratory swim studies of two species of Asian carp, 36-334 mm total length, and suggests ways that swimming performance data can be used to contain these invasive species. Bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and silver carp H. molitrix are native to China but are now established and spreading throughout North America. Following their introduction in the Lower Mississippi River in the 1980s, both species have dispersed upriver towards the Great Lakes and laterally into floodplain wetlands and tributaries Kolar et al. 2007. Their diets overlap highly with those of native planktivorous fishes Sampson et al. 2009. Because they consume large quantities of food representing a wide variety of taxa Jennings 1988, selectively digesting and egesting viable algae Pongruktham et al. 2010, they can alter food webs and increase trophic competition Pegg et al. 2009, reducing the robustness condition of native fishes like gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum, bigmouth buffalo Ictiobus cyprinellus Irons et al. 2007, and possibly paddlefish Polyodon spathula Varble et al. 2007. Predicting rates and likelihood of carp dispersal and containing populations with hydraulic barriers or other types of barriers are options for managers, but quantitative data are required on swimming performance of carp.