Science: Global Warming Good for Largemouth Bass

As I sit at my computer typing this, trying to warm up after freezing my “you-know-what” off after shoveling piles of snow from my driveway for the fourth time this year, I’m strangely heartened by the results of the following piece of research.

We can debate all you want over the whole global warming issue, but we bass anglers can sleep better knowing that if so, it turns out to be a good thing for our little green friends. At least that’s the spin being put out by the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change concerning a recent paper in the Journal of Freshwater Ecology.

Climate–growth relationships for largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) across three southeastern USA states by Andrew Rypel found that “Annual growth indices were typically above average during the warmest, driest years (i.e., drought years), and below-average during the coldest, wettest years.

He used the “tree ring” technique, similar to counting rings on a cut piece of tree trunk to figure out how old or how fast a tree grew, only using the same on bass ear bones. They actually get the same type of growth rings. Possible explanations for the results obtained include:

  • Nutrient cycling during dry periods that lead to a “bottom-up” effect
  • During hot, dry periods, higher average temps may increase metabolism and enhance growth
  • Lower lake water levels during droughts may increase the concentration of prey, making it easier for bass to feed or find prey

Analysis showed that “an average of 50% of annual variability of growth of largemouth bass could be attributed to climatic conditions.” Wow!

The piece was picked up by the CO2Science website as a positive benefit of potential warming (see:  Largemouth Bass in a Warming World). Interestingly, a similar study carried out on black crappie in southern Minnesota lakes several years ago found that growth and growth patterns in those fish were unrelated to climate warming.

So it looks like largemouth bass are set to take over the world as soon as things start warming up a bit more. Looks like I’ll be investing in a bit more Bass Pro stock and a little less Orvis stock next year….

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. BP

    January 11, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Being from MN it’s obvious to me that if global warming is true, the picture isn’t necessarily a net negative as the doom and gloomers want us to believe.

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