Evaluating white perch (Morone americana) fecundity in select Chesapeake Bay tributaries in repsonse to pathology and fitness

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Fecundity studies have emerged as a complement to generalized stock assessment methods in an effort to more accurately determine reproductive potential, as well as explain a lack of stock recovery in some cases. The Chesapeake Bay presents an interesting case study, in that widespread anthropogenic influence has created the potential to reduce reproductive fitness among resident species, including white perch (Morone americana). This study seeks to investigate white perch population fecundity in response to habitat quality, as well as disease and nutrition, through the use of stereological and automated counting methods to assess agreement between stock assessments and reproductive potential. Results indicate lack of impact on fecundity from degraded habitat, limited impact of individual nutrition, and no conclusive effect from disease. These findings, coupled with stable recruitment, indicate that white perch reproduction in the Chesapeake Bay is unaffected by increased population stress.