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U.S. Geological Survey - Great Lakes Science Center


  • Thomas M. Luhring, Trevor D. Meckley, Nicholas S. Johnson, Michael J. Siefkes, John B. Hume, and Michael Wagner 2016 A semelparous fish continues upstream migration when exposed to alarm cue, but adjusts movement speed and timing. Elsevier . Animal Behaviour 122 pp. 41-51.

    Animals make trade-offs between predation risk and pursuit of opportunities such as foraging and reproduction. Trade-offs between antipredator behaviours and foraging are well suited to manipulation in laboratory and field settings and have generated a vast compendium of knowledge. However, much less is known about how animals manage trade-offs between predation risk and pursuit of reproductive opportunities in the absence of the confounding effects of foraging. In the present study, we investigated how the nonfeeding migratory life stage of sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus, responds to odour from dead conspecifics (a cue that induces avoidance behaviours in laboratory and field studies). We released groups of PIT-tagged sea lamprey 65 m from the shore of Lake Michigan or 287 m upstream in Carp Lake River and used antennas to detect their movements in the river. As the breeding season progressed, sea lamprey initiated upstream movement earlier and were more likely to enter the river. Sea lamprey that began the night in Lake Michigan entered Carp Lake River at higher rates and accelerated upstream when exposed to high concentrations of alarm cue, consistent with animals attempting to minimize time spent in risky areas. Sea lampreys that began the night in the river delayed upstream movement when exposed to alarm cue, consistent with animals sheltering and gathering information about a source of risk. We attribute this context-specific reaction to alarm cue to differences in perceived vulnerability to predation in sheltered positions in the river versus exposed positions in the lake. Once in the river, the vast majority of sea lamprey moved upstream independent of alarm cue or Julian date. Although life-history-induced time and energy budgets place rigid constraints on the direction of migration, sea lamprey attend to predation risk by modifying movement timing and speed.

    Contribution #2053
  • Janice A. Kerns, Mark W. Rogers, David B. Bunnell, Randall M. Claramunt, and Paris D. Collingsworth 2016 Comparing Life History Characteristics of Lake Michigan’s Naturalized and Stocked Chinook Salmon. Taylor & Francis . North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36 (5). pp. 1106-1118.

    Lake Michigan supports popular fisheries for Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha that have been sustained by stocking since the late 1960s. Natural recruitment of Chinook Salmon in Lake Michigan has increased in the past few decades and currently contributes more than 50% of Chinook Salmon recruits. We hypothesized that selective forces differ for naturalized populations born in the wild and hatchery populations, resulting in divergent life history characteristics with implications for Chinook Salmon population production and the Lake Michigan fishery. First, we conducted a historical analysis to determine if life history characteristics changed through time as the Chinook Salmon population became increasingly naturalized. Next, we conducted a 2-year field study of naturalized and hatchery stocked Chinook Salmon spawning populations to quantify differences in fecundity, egg size, timing of spawning, and size at maturity. In general, our results did not indicate significant life history divergence between naturalized and hatchery-stocked Chinook Salmon populations in Lake Michigan. Although historical changes in adult sex ratio were correlated with the proportion of naturalized individuals, changes in weight at maturity were better explained by density-dependent factors. The field study revealed no divergence in fecundity, timing of spawning, or size at maturity, and only small differences in egg size (hatchery > naturalized). For the near future, our results suggest that the limited life history differences observed between Chinook Salmon of naturalized and hatchery origin will not lead to large differences in characteristics important to the dynamics of the population or fishery.

    Contribution #2052
  • James H. Johnson and Neil H. Ringler 2016 Comparative diets of subyearling Atlantic salmon and subyearling coho salmon in Lake Ontario tributaries. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research 42 (4). pp. 854-860.

    Restoration of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) in Lake Ontario could potentially be negatively affected by the presence of non-native salmonids that are naturalized in the basin. Coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) have been spawning successfully in Lake Ontario tributaries for over 40 years and their juveniles will reside in streams with juvenile Atlantic salmon for one year. This study sought to examine interspecific diet associations between these species, and to compare diets to the composition of the benthos and drift in three Lake Ontario tributaries. Aquatic insects, mainly ephemeropterans and chironomids were the major prey consumed by subyearling Atlantic salmon whereas terrestrial invertebrates made up only 3.7% of the diet. Ephemeropterans and chironomids were the primary aquatic taxa consumed by subyearling coho salmon but, as a group, terrestrial invertebrates (41.8%) were the major prey. In sympatry, Atlantic salmon fed more actively from the benthos whereas the diet of coho salmon was more similar to the drift. The different feeding pattern of each species resulted in low interspecific diet similarity. There is likely little competition between these species for food in Lake Ontario tributaries as juveniles.

    Contribution #2051
  • Kai Lorenzen, Ian G. Cowx, Rose Emma M. Entsua-Mensah, Nigel P. Lester, John D. Koehn, Robert G. Randall, N. So, Scott A. Bonar, David B. Bunnell, Paul A. Venturelli, Shannon D. Bower, and Steven J. Cooke 2016 Stock assessment in inland fisheries: a foundation for sustainable use and conservation . Springer . Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 26 (3). pp. 405-440.

    Fisheries stock assessments are essential for science-based fisheries management. Inland fisheries pose challenges, but also provide opportunities for biological assessments that differ from those encountered in large marine fisheries for which many of our assessment methods have been developed. These include the number and diversity of fisheries, high levels of ecological and environmental variation, and relative lack of institutional capacity for assessment. In addition, anthropogenic impacts on habitats, widespread presence of non-native species and the frequent use of enhancement and restoration measures such as stocking affect stock dynamics. This paper outlines various stock assessment and data collection approaches that can be adapted to a wide range of different inland fisheries and management challenges. Although this paper identifies challenges in assessment, it focuses on solutions that are practical, scalable and transferrable. A path forward is suggested in which biological assessment generates some of the critical information needed by fisheries managers to make effective decisions that benefit the resource and stakeholders.

    Contribution #2049
  • Marcos A. Soares, Hai-Yan Li, Kurt P. Kowalski, Marshall Bergen, Monica S. Torres, and James F. White 2016 Functional Role of Bacteria from Invasive Phragmites australis in Promotion of Host Growth. Springer . Microbial Ecology 72 (2). pp. 407-417.

    We hypothesize that bacterial endophytes may enhance the competitiveness and invasiveness of Phragmites australis. To evaluate this hypothesis, endophytic bacteria were isolated from P. australis. The majority of the shoot meristem isolates represent species from phyla Firmicutes, Proteobacteria, and Actinobacteria. We chose one species from each phylum to characterize further and to conduct growth promotion experiments in Phragmites. Bacteria tested include Bacillus amyloliquefaciens A9a, Achromobacter spanius B1, and Microbacterium oxydans B2. Isolates were characterized for known growth promotional traits, including indole acetic acid (IAA) production, secretion of hydrolytic enzymes, phosphate solubilization, and antibiosis activity. Potentially defensive antimicrobial lipopeptides were assayed for through application of co-culturing experiments and mass spectrometer analysis. B. amyloliquefaciens A9a and M. oxydans B2 produced IAA. B. amyloliquefaciens A9a secreted antifungal lipopeptides. Capability to promote growth of P. australis under low nitrogen conditions was evaluated in greenhouse experiments. All three isolates were found to increase the growth of P. australis under low soil nitrogen conditions and showed increased absorption of isotopic nitrogen into plants. This suggests that the Phragmites microbes we evaluated most likely promote growth of Phragmites by enhanced scavenging of nitrogenous compounds from the rhizosphere and transfer to host roots. Collectively, our results support the hypothesis that endophytic bacteria play a role in enhancing growth of P. australis in natural populations. Gaining a better understanding of the precise contributions and mechanisms of endophytes in enabling P. australis to develop high densities rapidly could lead to new symbiosis-based strategies for management and control of the host.

    Contribution #2048
  • Jonathan L. McCubbins, Michael J. Hansen, Joseph M. DosSantos and Andrew M. Dux 2016 Demographic Characteristics of an Adfluvial Bull Trout Population in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho. Taylor & Francis . North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36 (6). pp. 1269-1277.

    Introductions of nonnative species, habitat loss, and stream fragmentation have caused the Bull Trout Salvelinus confluentus to decline throughout much of its native distribution. Consequently, in June 1998, the Bull Trout was listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as threatened. The Bull Trout has existed in Lake Pend Oreille and its surrounding tributaries since the last ice age, and the lake once supported a world-renowned Bull Trout fishery. To quantify the current status of the Bull Trout population in Lake Pend Oreille, Idaho, we compared the mean age, growth, maturity, and abundance with reports in a study conducted one decade earlier. Abundance was estimated by mark–recapture for Bull Trout caught in trap nets and gill nets set in Lake Pend Oreille during ongoing suppression netting of Lake Trout S. namaycush in 2007–2008. Bull Trout sampled in 2006–2008 were used to estimate age structure, survival, growth, and maturity. Estimated Bull Trout abundance was similar to that estimated one decade earlier in Lake Pend Oreille. Bull Trout residing in Lake Pend Oreille between 2006 and 2008 were between ages 4 and 14 years; their growth was fastest between ages 1 and 2 and slowed thereafter. Male and female Bull Trout matured at a similar age, but females grew faster than males, thereby maturing at a larger size. Our findings suggest that management has effectively addressed current threats to increase the likelihood of long-term persistence of the Bull Trout population in Lake Pend Oreille.

    Contribution #2047
  • Marc A. Chalupnicki and James H. Johnson 2016 Diel diet of fantail darter in a tributary to Lake Ontario, New York, USA. Taylor & Francis . Journal of Freshwater Ecology 31 (4). pp. 659-664.

    The foraging behavior of benthic fishes in streams is seldom examined but is vital to the health of the aquatic community. We examined the feeding ecology of the fantail darter (Etheostoma flaballere) in Trout Brook, a tributary of the Salmon River in central New York, USA. Of the six time periods examined, fantail darters fed most intensely from 1600–2000 h, with ephemeropterans the major prey consumed during all time periods except for 2000 where chironomid larvae were consumed the most. Fantail darter diet composition was similar across all time periods except during the night which appeared to be uniquely different. According to the prey selection analysis, fantail darters appear to prefer dipterans and ephemeropterans but also demonstrated an opportunistic behavior feeding on what was available in the brook.

    Contribution #2043
  • Matthew D. Faust and Michael J. Hansen 2016 Effects of Consumption-Oriented Versus Trophy-Oriented Fisheries on Muskellunge Population Size Structure in Northern Wisconsin. Taylor & Francis . North American Journal of Fisheries Management 36 (6). pp. 1336-1346.

    To determine whether a consumption-oriented fishery was compatible with a trophy-oriented fishery for Muskellunge Esox masquinongy, we modeled effects of a spearing fishery and recreational angling fishery on population size structure (i.e., numbers of fish = 102, 114, and 127 cm) in northern Wisconsin. An individual-based simulation model was used to quantify the effect of harvest mortality at currently observed levels of recreational angling and tribal spearing fishery exploitation, along with simulated increases in exploitation, for three typical growth potentials (i.e., low, moderate, and high) of Muskellunge in northern Wisconsin across a variety of minimum length limits (i.e., 71, 102, 114, and 127 cm). Populations with moderate to high growth potential and minimum length limits = 114 cm were predicted to have lower declines in numbers of trophy Muskellunge when subjected to angling-only and mixed fisheries at observed and increased levels of exploitation, which suggested that fisheries with disparate motivations may be able to coexist under certain conditions such as restrictive length limits and low levels of exploitation. However, for most Muskellunge populations in northern Wisconsin regulated by a 102-cm minimum length limit, both angling and spearing fisheries may reduce numbers of trophy Muskellunge as larger declines were predicted across all growth potentials. Our results may be useful if Muskellunge management options in northern Wisconsin are re-examined in the future.

    Contribution #2041
  • Holly S. Embke, Patrick M. Kocovsky, Catherine A. Richter, Jeremy J. Pritt, Christine M. Mayer, and Song S. Qian 2016 First direct confirmation of grass carp spawning in a Great Lakes tributary. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research 42 (4). pp. 899-903.

    Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella), an invasive species of Asian carp, has been stocked for many decades in the United States for vegetation control. Adult individuals have been found in all of the Great Lakes except Lake Superior, but no self-sustaining populations have yet been identified in Great Lakes tributaries. In 2012, a commercial fisherman caught four juvenile diploid grass carp in the Sandusky River, a major tributary to Lake Erie. Otolith microchemistry and the capture location of these fish permitted the conclusion that they were most likely produced in the Sandusky River. Due to this finding, we sampled ichthyoplankton using paired bongo net tows and larval light traps during June–August of 2014 and 2015 to determine if grass carp are spawning in the Sandusky River. From the samples collected in 2015, we identified and staged eight eggs that were morphologically consistent with grass carp. Five eggs were confirmed as grass carp using quantitative Polymerase Chain Reaction for a grass carp-specific marker, while the remaining three were retained for future analysis. Our finding confirms that grass carp are naturally spawning in this Great Lakes tributary. All eggs were collected during high-flow events, either on the day of peak flow or 1–2 days following peak flow, supporting an earlier suggestion that high flow conditions favor grass carp spawning. The next principal goal is to identify the spawning and hatch location(s) for the Sandusky River. Predicting locations and conditions where grass carp spawning is most probable may aid targeted management efforts.

    Contribution #2040
  • Jean V. Adams, Karen S. Slaght, Michael A. Boogaard 2016 An automated approach to Litchfield and Wilcoxon's evaluation of dose-effect experiments using the R package LW1949. John Wiley & Sons . Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry 35 (12). pp. 3058-3061.

    The authors developed a package, LW1949, for use with the statistical software R to automatically carry out the manual steps of Litchfield and Wilcoxon's method of evaluating dose-effect experiments. LW1949 consistently finds the best fitting dose-effect relation by minimizing the chi-squared statistic of the observed and expected number of affected individuals and substantially speeds up the line-fitting process and other calculations that Litchfield and Wilcoxon originally carried out by hand. 

    Contribution #2039


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