Effect of Eastern Red Cedar Brush on nest Abundance and Survival of Age-0 Black Bass in Bull Shoals Lake, Missouri
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Recruitment of black bass Micropterus spp. in large reservoirs is often related to fluctuations in water levels, although the specific mechanism driving recruitment is not known. Eastern red cedar Juniperus virginiana brush was added to coves within Bull Shoals Lake to replicate habitat conditions present during high water events in an effort to increase numbers of nesting adult black bass and abundance of age-0 black bass. Num-ber of nests within each study site was documented via snorkel surveys whereas abundance of age-0 black bass and potential predators of these bass was determined via electrofishing surveys. Number of black bass nests was greater in sites with brush compared to control sites. However, abundance of age-0 black bass was not greater in these same sites. Black bass congeners and sunfish Lepomis spp. were the most prevalent predators sampled, and their abundance was always greater in brush sites relative to controls; however, the magnitude of difference varied by year. It appears that the simple addition of brush did not fully replicate habitat present during high water events and as a result did not increase the abundance of age-0 black bass.