Understanding Swimming Performance Variation in Ohio Minnows(Cyprinidae)

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Understanding variability in swimming performance
of freshwater fishes has implications for improving
descriptions of ecological niches, establishing evolutionary
relationships, and providing management and conservation
recommendations. Swimming performance is associated
with anatomical, physiological, and environmental
variation, although the vast majority of swimming
performance research to date has focused on larger
game species to the exclusion of smaller non-game taxa,
which represent the largest portion of North American
freshwater fish diversity. Thus, the objective of this study
was to assess a previously unstudied area regarding how
swimming covaries with body size, sex, watershed, and
habitat types of these smaller non-game taxa. A Blazka
style swimming performance chamber following a stepwise
critical swimming performance (Ucrit) protocol was used
to quantify individual variation in four species of common
Ohio Minnows (Cyprinidae: Bluntnose Minnow, Spotfin
Shiner, Sand Shiner, and Redfin Shiner). Using a series
of general linear models at both a global (taxa combined)
and local (taxa specific) scale trends were identified across
all individuals (N=150 total individuals). First, species
differed in swimming performance, even after controlling
for cofactors such as body size. Second, slopes depicting
relationships between swimming performance and body
size were not consistent among taxa and moreover, sex
did not appear to play a role in swimming ability. Lastly,
species specific models indicated inconsistent differences
among taxa related to watershed and habitat variation.
Overall, these results provide an important contribution
to furthering our understanding of small bodied non-game


Poster presentation at the Ohio Academy of Science 126th Annual Meeting.