Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Virginia Institute of Marine Science


An energetics model was constructed as an alternative method to length frequency analysis for the estimation of growth for juvenile silver perch, Bairdiella chrysoura. The model approach was adopted since estimation of juvenile estuarine fish growth by only collecting length or weight frequency data is difficult due to the large bodies of water and variety of microhabitats that must be regularly sampled over short time intervals. Field and laboratory data was included in analysis of model compartments for growth, metabolism, food intake and energy loss in waste products. Food habit studies indicated that silver perch is a planktivore that feeds on calanoid copepods during the day and mysids at night. Estimated energy utilization for silver perch at maintenance and maximum rations were similar to literature values for yellow perch, Perca flavescens, and brown trout, Salmo trutta. Model simulation of growth for silver perch in the York River, Virginia from July through October 1981, contained less variation in the size prediction than growth rates determined by length frequency analysis. The model did not contain periods of negative growth as did the field data. By the end of the season, model predictions of silver perch length matched the average length of silver perch captured in the lower York River. The construction of energy utilization models through complementary laboratory and field research has been demonstrated to be a viable method for estimating growth for juvenile fishes. Length frequency analysis is limited to only expressing growth over time. The advantages of an energetics model are that it also defines trophic and ecological interactions as well as environmental factors that impact growth.



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