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U.S. Geological Survey - Great Lakes Science Center


  • Don W. Schloesser, David M. Malakauskas, and Sarah J. Malakauskas 2016 Freshwater polychaetes (Manayunkia speciosa) near the Detroit River, western Lake Erie: Abundance and life-history characteristics. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research 42 (5). pp. 1070-1083.

    Freshwater polychaetes are relatively rare and little-studied members of the benthos of lakes and rivers. We studied one polychaete species (Manayunkia speciosa) in Lake Erie near the mouth of the Detroit River. Abundances at one site were determined between 1961 and 2013 and life-history characteristics at two sites were determined seasonally (March–November) in 2009–2010 and 2012–2013. Life-history characteristics included abundances, length-frequency distributions, presence/absence of constructed tubes, sexual maturity, and number and maturation of young-of-the-year (YOY) in tubes. Long-term abundances decreased in successive time periods between 1961 and 2003 (mean range = 57,570 to 2583/m2) but few changes occurred between 2003 and 2013 (mean = 5007/m2; range/y = 2355–8216/m2). Seasonal abundances varied substantially between sites and years, but overall, abundances were low in March–April, high in May–August, and low in September–November. Although reproduction was continuous throughout warmer months, en masse recruitment, as revealed by length–frequency distributions, occurred in a brief period late-June to mid-July, and possibly in early-September. All life-history characteristics, including tube construction, were dependent on water temperatures (> 5 °C in spring and < 15 °C in fall). These results generally agree with and complement laboratory studies of M. speciosa in the Pacific Northwest where M. speciosa hosts parasites that cause substantial fish mortalities. Although abundance of M. speciosa near the mouth of the Detroit River was 33-fold lower in 2013 than it was in 1961, this population has persisted for five decades and, therefore, has the potential to harbor parasites that may cause fish mortalities in the Great Lakes.

    Contribution #2063
  • Richard T. Di Rocco, Nicholas S. Johnson, Linnea M. Brege, Istvan Imre, Grant E. Brown 2016 Sea lamprey avoid areas scented with conspecific tissue extract in Michigan streams. Fisheries Management and Ecology
    Contribution #2062
  • Peter W. Sorensen and Nicholas S. Johnson 2016 Theory and application of semiochemicals in nuisance fish control. Springer . Journal of Chemical Ecology 42 (7). pp. 698-715.

    Controlling unwanted, or nuisance, fishes is becoming an increasingly urgent issue with few obvious solutions. Because fish rely heavily on semiochemicals, or chemical compounds that convey information between and within species, to mediate aspects of their life histories, these compounds are increasingly being considered as an option to help control wild fish. Possible uses of semiochemicals include measuring their presence in water to estimate population size, adding them to traps to count or remove specific species of fish, adding them to waterways to manipulate large-scale movement patterns, and saturating the environment with synthesized semiochemicals to disrupt responses to the natural cue. These applications may be especially appropriate for pheromones, chemical signals that pass between members of same species and which also have extreme specificity and potency. Alarm cues, compounds released by injured fish, and cues released by potential predators also could function as repellents and be especially useful if paired with pheromonal attractants in “push-pull” configurations. Approximately half a dozen attractive pheromones now have been partially identified in fish, and those for the sea lamprey and the common carp have been tested in the field with modest success. Alarm and predator cues for sea lamprey also have been tested in the laboratory and field with some success. Success has been hampered by our incomplete understanding of chemical identity, a lack of synthesized compounds, the fact that laboratory bioassays do not always reflect natural environments, and the relative difficulty of conducting trials on wild fishes because of short field seasons and regulatory requirements. Nevertheless, workers continue efforts to identify pheromones because of the great potential elucidated by insect control and the fact that few tools are available to control nuisance fish. Approaches developed for nuisance fish also could be applied to valued fishes, which suffer from a lack of powerful management tools.

    Contribution #2061
  • Shauna M. Baillie, Andrew M. Muir, Michael J. Hansen, Charles C. Krueger, and Paul Bentzen 2016 Genetic and phenotypic variation along an ecological gradient in lake trout Salvelinus namaycush. BioMed Central . BMC Evolutionary Biology 16 (219).
    Adaptive radiation involving a colonizing phenotype that rapidly evolves into at least one other ecological variant, or ecotype, has been observed in a variety of freshwater fishes in post-glacial environments. However, few studies consider how phenotypic traits vary with regard to neutral genetic partitioning along ecological gradients. Here, we present the first detailed investigation of lake trout Salvelinus namaycush that considers variation as a cline rather than discriminatory among ecotypes. Genetic and phenotypic traits organized along common ecological gradients of water depth and geographic distance provide important insights into diversification processes in a lake with high levels of human disturbance from over-fishing.
    Four putative lake trout ecotypes could not be distinguished using population genetic methods, despite morphological differences. Neutral genetic partitioning in lake trout was stronger along a gradient of water depth, than by locality or ecotype. Contemporary genetic migration patterns were consistent with isolation-by-depth. Historical gene flow patterns indicated colonization from shallow to deep water. Comparison of phenotypic (Pst) and neutral genetic variation (Fst) revealed that morphological traits related to swimming performance (e.g., buoyancy, pelvic fin length) departed more strongly from neutral expectations along a depth gradient than craniofacial feeding traits. Elevated phenotypic variance with increasing water depth in pelvic fin length indicated possible ongoing character release and diversification. Finally, differences in early growth rate and asymptotic fish length across depth strata may be associated with limiting factors attributable to cold deep-water environments.
    We provide evidence of reductions in gene flow and divergent natural selection associated with water depth in Lake Superior. Such information is relevant for documenting intraspecific biodiversity in the largest freshwater lake in the world for a species that recently lost considerable genetic diversity and is now in recovery. Unknown is whether observed patterns are a result of an early stage of incipient speciation, gene flow-selection equilibrium, or reverse speciation causing formerly divergent ecotypes to collapse into a single gene pool.
    Contribution #2060
  • Steven J. Cooke, Angela H. Arthington, Scott A. Bonar, Shanon D. Bower, David B. Bunnell, Rose E.M. Entsua-Mensah, Simon Funge-Smith, John D. Koehn, Nigel P. Lester, Kai Lorenzen, So Nam, Robert G. Randall, Paul Venturelli, and Ian G. Cowx 2016 Assessment of Inland Fisheries: A Vision for the Future.

    William W. Taylor, Devin M. Bartley, Chris I. Goddard, Nancy J. Leonard, and Robin Welcomme

    Freshwater, Fish and the Future: Proceedings of the Global Cross-Sectoral Conference pp. 45-62.

    The assessment process is fundamental to ensuring that inland fisheries are managed sustainably and valued appropriately so that they can support livelihoods, contribute to food security, and generate other ecosystem services. To that end, a global group of leaders in inland fishery assessment convened to generate a list of recommendations and specific actions for improving assessment of inland fisheries. Recommendations included the needs to assess the global contribution of inland fisheries to food security, develop and implement rigorous approaches to evaluate various inland fishery management actions, develop and implement creative approaches to improve the assessment of illegal fishing activities, and improve statistical data for unreported and unregulated catches in inland waters. The group also identified a need to develop standardized and defensible methods of biological assessment of inland fish and fisheries that include data collection, database management, and data sharing and reporting to reflect diverse ecosystem types. Moreover, it was recommended that assessment be designed to better inform inland fishery management and other sector planning and decision making at the appropriate scales (e.g., integrated water resource management) through stakeholder engagement, valuation of fisheries outputs, and identification of policy alternatives with consideration of trade-offs. The inherent diversity of inland fisheries in terms of ecological, socioeconomic, and governance attributes was recognized throughout the process of developing the suggested actions, including how such attributes combine to provide fisheries-specific contexts for management. Using appropriate and accessible communication channels is critical to more effectively package, present, and transfer information that raises awareness about inland fisheries values and issues; alter human behavior; and influence relevant policy and management actions. Creating mechanisms to facilitate dialogue among the diverse range of stakeholders is equally important. Improved assessment techniques should play a fundamental role in supporting sustainable inland fisheries management and contributing to food security and livelihoods, while also maintaining or improving ecological integrity.

    Contribution #2059
  • Danielle K. Forsyth, Catherine M. Riseng, Kevin E. Wehrly, Lacey A. Mason, John Gaiot, Tom Hollenhorst, Craig M. Johnston, Conrad Wyrzykowski, Gust Annis, Chris Castiglione, Kent Todd, Mike Robertson, Dana M. Infante, Lizhu Wang, James E. McKenna, and Gary Whelan 2016 The Great Lakes Hydrography Dataset: Consistent, Binational Watersheds for the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin. John Wiley & Sons . Journal of the American Water Resources Association 52 (5). pp. 1068-1088.

    Ecosystem-based management of the Laurentian Great Lakes, which spans both the United States and Canada, is hampered by the lack of consistent binational watersheds for the entire Basin. Using comparable data sources and consistent methods, we developed spatially equivalent watershed boundaries for the binational extent of the Basin to create the Great Lakes Hydrography Dataset (GLHD). The GLHD consists of 5,589 watersheds for the entire Basin, covering a total area of approximately 547,967 km2, or about twice the 247,003 km2 surface water area of the Great Lakes. The GLHD improves upon existing watershed efforts by delineating watersheds for the entire Basin using consistent methods; enhancing the precision of watershed delineation using recently developed flow direction grids that have been hydrologically enforced and vetted by provincial and federal water resource agencies; and increasing the accuracy of watershed boundaries by enforcing embayments, delineating watersheds on islands, and delineating watersheds for all tributaries draining to connecting channels. In addition, the GLHD is packaged in a publically available geodatabase that includes synthetic stream networks, reach catchments, watershed boundaries, a broad set of attribute data for each tributary, and metadata documenting methodology. The GLHD provides a common set of watersheds and associated hydrography data for the Basin that will enhance binational efforts to protect and restore the Great Lakes.

    Contribution #2058
  • Ralph Grundel 2016 So, you want to be a Lepidopterist?. Ecological Society of America . Ecology 97 (12). pp. 3555-3556.
    Contribution #2057
  • Helena M. Solo-Gabriele, Valerie J. Harwood , David Kay, Roger S. Fujioka, Michael J. Sadowsky, Richard L. Whitman, Andrew Wither, Manuela Caniça, Rita Carvalho da Fonseca, Aida Duarte, Thomas A. Edge, Maria J. Gargaté, Nina Gunde-Cimerman, Ferry Hagen, Sandra L. McLellan, Alexandra Nogueira da Silva, Monika Novak Babiè, Susana Prada, Raquel Rodrigues, Daniela Romão, Raquel Sabino, Robert A. Samson, Esther Segal, Christopher Staley, Huw D. Taylor, Cristina Veríssimo, Carla Viegas, Helena Barroso, and João C. Brandão. 2016 Beach sand and the potential for infectious disease transmission: observations and recommendations. Cambridge University Press . Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 96 (Special Issue 01). pp. 101-120.

    Recent studies suggest that sand can serve as a vehicle for exposure of humans to pathogens at beach sites, resulting in increased health risks. Sampling for microorganisms in sand should therefore be considered for inclusion in regulatory programmes aimed at protecting recreational beach users from infectious disease. Here, we review the literature on pathogen levels in beach sand, and their potential for affecting human health. In an effort to provide specific recommendations for sand sampling programmes, we outline published guidelines for beach monitoring programmes, which are currently focused exclusively on measuring microbial levels in water. We also provide background on spatial distribution and temporal characteristics of microbes in sand, as these factors influence sampling programmes. First steps toward establishing a sand sampling programme include identifying appropriate beach sites and use of initial sanitary assessments to refine site selection. A tiered approach is recommended for monitoring. This approach would include the analysis of samples from many sites for faecal indicator organisms and other conventional analytes, while testing for specific pathogens and unconventional indicators is reserved for high-risk sites. Given the diversity of microbes found in sand, studies are urgently needed to identify the most significant aetiological agent of disease and to relate microbial measurements in sand to human health risk.

    Contribution #2056
  • Abigail J. Lynch, Steven J. Cooke, Andrew M. Deines, Shannon D. Bower, David B. Bunnell, Ian G. Cowx, Vivian M. Nguyen, Joel Nohner, Kaviphone Phouthavong, Betsy Riley, Mark W. Rogers, William W. Taylor, Whitney Woelmer, So-Jung Youn, and T. Douglas Beard, Jr. 2016 The social, economic, and environmental importance of inland fish and fisheries. NRC Research Press . Environmental Reviews 24 (2). pp. 115-121.

    Though reported capture fisheries are dominated by marine production, inland fish and fisheries make substantial contributions to meeting the challenges faced by individuals, society, and the environment in a changing global landscape. Inland capture fisheries and aquaculture contribute over 40% to the world’s reported finfish production from less than 0.01% of the total volume of water on earth. These fisheries provide food for billions and livelihoods for millions of people worldwide. Herein, using supporting evidence from the literature, we review 10 reasons why inland fish and fisheries are important to the individual (food security, economic security, empowerment), to society (cultural services, recreational services, human health and well-being, knowledge transfer and capacity building), and to the environment (ecosystem function and biodiversity, as aquatic “canaries”, the “green food” movement). However, the current limitations to valuing the services provided by inland fish and fisheries make comparison with other water resource users extremely difficult. This list can serve to demonstrate the importance of inland fish and fisheries, a necessary first step to better incorporating them into agriculture, land-use, and water resource planning, where they are currently often underappreciated or ignored.

    Contribution #2055
  • Whitney M. Woelmer, Yu-Chun Kao, David B. Bunnell, Andrew M. Deines, David H. Bennion, Mark W. Rogers, Colin N. Brooks, Michael J. Sayers, David M. Banach, Amanda G. Grimm, and Robert A. Shuchman 2016 Assessing the influence of watershed characteristics on chlorophyll a in water bodies at global and regional scales. Freshwater Biological Association . Inland Waters 6 (3). pp. 379-392.

    Prediction of primary production of lentic water bodies (i.e., lakes and reservoirs) is valuable to researchers and resource managers alike, but is very rarely done at the global scale.  With the development of remote sensing technologies, it is now feasible to gather large amounts of data across the world, including understudied and remote regions. To determine which factors were most important in explaining the variation of chlorophyll a (Chl-a), an indicator of primary production in water bodies, at global and regional scales, we first developed a geospatial database of 227 water bodies and watersheds with corresponding Chl-a, nutrient, hydrogeomorphic, and climate data. Then we used a generalized additive modeling approach and developed model selection criteria to select models that most parsimoniously related Chl-a to predictor variables for all 227 water bodies and for 51 lakes in the Laurentian Great Lakes region in the data set. Our best global model contained two hydrogeomorphic variables (water body surface area and the ratio of watershed to water body surface area) and a climate variable (average temperature in the warmest model selection criteria to select models that most parsimoniously related Chl-a to predictor variables quarter) and explained ~ 30% of variation in Chl-a. Our regional model contained one hydrogeomorphic variable (flow accumulation) and the same climate variable, but explained substantially more variation (58%). Our results indicate that a regional approach to watershed modeling may be more informative to predicting Chl-a, and that nearly a third of global variability in Chl-a may be explained using hydrogeomorphic and climate variables.

    Contribution #2054


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