USGS - science for a changing world

U.S. Geological Survey - Great Lakes Science Center


  • Gerald Matisoff, Eliza M. Kaltenberg, Rebecca L. Steely, Stephanie K. Hummel, Jinyu Seo, Kenneth J. Gibbons, Thomas B. Bridgeman, Youngwoo Seo, Mohsen Behbahani, William F. James, Laura T. Johnson, Phuong Doan, Maria Dittrich, Mary Anne Evans, and Justin D. Chaffin 2016 Internal loading of phosphorus in western Lake Erie. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research 42 (4). pp. 775-788.

    This study applied eight techniques to obtain estimates of the diffusive flux of phosphorus (P) from bottom sediments throughout the western basin of Lake Erie. The flux was quantified from both aerobic and anaerobic incubations of whole cores; by monitoring the water encapsulated in bottom chambers; from pore water concentration profiles measured with a phosphate microelectrode, a diffusive equilibrium in thin films (DET) hydrogel, and expressed pore waters; and from mass balance and biogeochemical diagenetic models. Fluxes under aerobic conditions at summertime temperatures averaged 1.35 mg P/m2/day and displayed spatial variability on scales as small as a centimeter. Using two different temperature correction factors, the flux was adjusted to mean annual temperature yielding average annual fluxes of 0.43–0.91 mg P/m2/day and a western basin-wide total of 378–808 Mg P/year as the diffusive flux from sediments. This is 3–7% of the 11,000 Mg P/year International Joint Commission (IJC) target load for phosphorus delivery to Lake Erie from external sources. Using these average aerobic fluxes, the sediment contributes 3.0–6.3 µg P/L as a background internal contribution that represents 20–42% of the IJC Target Concentration of 15 µg P/L for the western basin. The implication is that this internal diffusive recycling of P is unlikely to trigger cyanobacterial blooms by itself but is sufficiently large to cause blooms when combined with external loads. This background flux may be also responsible for delayed response of the lake to any decrease in the external loading.

    Contribution #2016
  • Christopher M. Holbrook, Roger A. Bergstedt, Jessica M. Barber, Gale A. Bravener, Michael L. Jones, and Charles C. Krueger 2016 Evaluating harvest-based control of invasive fish with telemetry: performance of sea lamprey traps in the Great Lakes. Ecological Society of America . Ecological Applications 26 (6). pp. 1595-1609.

    Physical removal (e.g., harvest via traps or nets) of mature individuals may be a cost-effective or socially-acceptable alternative to chemical control strategies for invasive species, but requires knowledge of the spatial distribution of a population over time. We used acoustic telemetry to determine the current and possible future role of traps to control and assess invasive sea lampreys, Petromyzon marinus, in the St. Marys River, the connecting channel between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Exploitation rates (i.e., fractions of an adult sea lamprey population removed by traps) at two upstream locations were compared among three years and two points of entry to the system. Telemetry receivers throughout the drainage allowed trap performance (exploitation rate) to be partitioned into two components: proportion of migrating sea lampreys that visited trap sites (availability) and proportion of available sea lampreys that were caught by traps (local trap efficiency). Estimated exploitation rates were well below those needed to provide population control in the absence of lampricides and were limited by availability and local trap efficiency. Local trap efficiency estimates for acoustic-tagged sea lampreys were lower than analogous estimates regularly obtained using traditional mark-recapture methods, suggesting that abundance had been previously under-estimated. Results suggested major changes would be required to substantially increase catch, including: improvements to existing traps, installation of new traps, or other modifications to attract and retain more sea lampreys. This case study also shows how bias associated with telemetry tags can be estimated and incorporated in models to improve inferences about parameters that are directly relevant to fishery management.

    Contribution #2007
  • Andrew S. Briggs, Darryl W. Hondorp, Henry R. Quinlan, James C. Boase, and Lloyd C. Mohr 2016 Electronic archival tags provide first glimpse of bathythermal habitat use by free-ranging adult lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens. Taylor & Francis . Journal of Freshwater Ecology 31 (3). pp. 477-483.

    Information on lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) depth and thermal habitat use during non-spawning periods is unavailable due to the difficulty of observing lake sturgeon away from shallow water spawning sites. In 2002 and 2003, lake sturgeon captured in commercial trap nets near Sarnia, Ontario were implanted with archival tags and released back into southern Lake Huron. Five of the 40 tagged individuals were recaptured and were at large for 32, 57, 286, 301, and 880 days. Temperatures and depths recorded by archival tags ranged from 0 to 23.5 ºC and 0.1 to 42.4 m, respectively. For the three lake sturgeon that were at large for over 200 days, temperatures occupied emulated seasonal fluctuations. Two of these fish occupied deeper waters during winter than summer while the other occupied similar depths during non-spawning periods. This study provides important insight into depth and thermal habitat use of lake sturgeon throughout the calendar year along with exploring the feasibility of using archival tags to obtain important physical habitat attributes during non-spawning periods.

    Contribution #2006
  • James H. Johnson, Ross Abbett, Marc A. Chalupnicki, and Francis Verdoliva 2016 Seasonal habitat use of brook trout and juvenile steelhead in a Lake Ontario tributary. Taylor & Francis . Journal of Freshwater Ecology 31 (2). pp. 239-249.

    Brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are generally restricted to headwaters in New York tributaries of Lake Ontario. In only a few streams are brook trout abundant in lower stream reaches that are accessible to adult Pacific salmonids migrating from the lake. Consequently, because of the rarity of native brook trout populations in these lower stream reaches it is important to understand how they use stream habitat in sympatry with juvenile Pacific salmonids which are now naturalized in several Lake Ontario tributaries. In this study, we examined the seasonal (spring, summer, and fall) habitat use of brook trout and juvenile steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) in Hart Brook, a tributary of eastern Lake Ontario. We found interspecific, intraspecific, and seasonal variation in habitat use. Subyearling steelhead were associated with faster water velocities than subyearling brook trout and, overall, had the least habitat similarity to the other salmonid groups examined. Overyearling brook trout and yearling steelhead exhibited the greatest degree of habitat selection and habitat selection by all four salmonid groups was greatest in summer. The availability of pool habitat for overyearling salmonids may pose the largest impediment to these species in Hart Brook.

    Contribution #1996
  • Michael J. Hansen, Barry S. Hansen, and David A. Beauchamp 2016 Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) suppression for bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus) recovery in Flathead Lake, Montana, North America. Springer . Hydrobiologia 783 (1). pp. 317-334.

    Non-native lake trout Salvelinus namaycush displaced native bull trout Salvelinus confluentus in Flathead Lake, Montana, USA, after 1984, when Mysis diluviana became abundant following its introduction in upstream lakes in 1968–1976. We developed a simulation model to determine the fishing mortality rate on lake trout that would enable bull trout recovery. Model simulations indicated that suppression of adult lake trout by 75% from current abundance would reduce predation on bull trout by 90%. Current removals of lake trout through incentivized fishing contests has not been sufficient to suppress lake trout abundance estimated by mark-recapture or indexed by stratified-random gill netting. In contrast, size structure, body condition, mortality, and maturity are changing consistent with a density-dependent reduction in lake trout abundance. Population modeling indicated total fishing effort would need to increase 3-fold to reduce adult lake trout population density by 75%. We conclude that increased fishing effort would suppress lake trout population density and predation on juvenile bull trout, and thereby enable higher abundance of adult bull trout in Flathead Lake and its tributaries.

    Contribution #1990
  • Mary Anne Evans 2016 Graphical Function Mapping as a New Way to Explore Cause-and-Effect Chains. Taylor & Francis . Fisheries 41 (11). pp. 638-643.

    Graphical function mapping provides a simple method for improving communication within interdisciplinary research teams and between scientists and nonscientists. This article introduces graphical function mapping using two examples and discusses its usefulness. Function mapping projects the outcome of one function into another to show the combined effect. Using this mathematical property in a simpler, even cartoon-like, graphical way allows the rapid combination of multiple information sources (models, empirical data, expert judgment, and guesses) in an intuitive visual to promote further discussion, scenario development, and clear communication.

    Contribution #1989
  • Michael J. Hansen, Nancy A. Nate, Louise Chavarie, Andrew M. Muir, Mara S. Zimmerman, and Charles C. Krueger 2016 Life history differences between fat and lean morphs of lake charr (Salvelinus namaycush) in Great Slave Lake, Northwest Territories, Canada. Springer . Hydrobiologia 783 (1). pp. 21-35.

    Life history characteristics (size, age, plumpness, buoyancy, survival, growth, and maturity) were compared between fat and lean morphs of lake charr Salvelinus namaycush in Great Slave Lake, Canada, to determine if differences may reflect effects of resource polymorphism. Lake charr were sampled using graded-mesh gill nets set in three depth strata. Of 236 lake charr captured, 122 were a fat morph and 114 were a lean morph. Males and females did not differ from each other in any attributes for either fat or lean morphs. The fat morph averaged 15 mm longer, 481 g heavier, and 4.7 years older than the lean morph. The fat morph averaged 26% heavier and 48% more buoyant at length than the lean morph. Survival of the fat morph was 1.7% higher than that of the lean morph. The fat morph grew at a slower annual rate to a shorter asymptotic length than the lean morph. Fat and lean morphs matured at similar lengths and ages. We concluded that the connection between resource polymorphism and life histories in lean versus fat lake charr suggests that morph-specific restoration objectives may be needed in lakes where lake charr diversity is considered to be a restoration goal.

    Contribution #1984
  • Taylor R. Stewart, Derek H. Ogle, Owen T. Gorman, and Mark R. Vinson 2016 Age, growth, and size of Lake Superior Pygmy Whitefish (Prosopium coulterii). University of Notre Dame . The American Midland Naturalist 175 (1). pp. 24-36.

    Pygmy Whitefish (Prosopium coulterii) are a small, glacial relict species with a disjunct distribution in North America and Siberia. In 2013 we collected Pygmy Whitefish at 28 stations from throughout Lake Superior. Total length was recorded for all fish and weight and sex were recorded and scales and otoliths were collected from a subsample. We compared the precision of estimated ages between readers and between scales and otoliths, estimated von Bertalanffy growth parameters for male and female Pygmy Whitefish, and reported the first weight-length relationship for Pygmy Whitefish. Age estimates between scales and otoliths differed significantly with otolith ages significantly greater for most ages after age-3. Maximum otolith age was nine for females and seven for males, which is older than previously reported for Pygmy Whitefish from Lake Superior. Growth was initially fast but slowed considerably after age-3 for males and age-4 for females, falling to 3–4 mm per year at maximum estimated ages. Females were longer than males after age-3. Our results suggest the size, age, and growth of Pygmy Whitefish in Lake Superior have not changed appreciably since 1953.

    Contribution #1983
  • Marcos Antonio Soares, Hai-Yan Li, Marshall Bergen, Joaquim Manoel da Silva, Kurt P. Kowalski, and James Francis White 2016 Functional role of an endophytic Bacillus amyloliquefaciens in enhancing growth and disease protection of invasive English ivy (Hedera helix L.). Springer . Plant and Soil 405 (1). pp. 107-123.
    We hypothesize that invasive English ivy (Hedera helix) harbors endophytic microbes that promote plant growth and survival. To evaluate this hypothesis, we examined endophytic bacteria in English ivy and evaluated effects on the host plant.
    Endophytic bacteria were isolated from multiple populations of English ivy in New Brunswick, NJ. Bacteria were identified as a single species Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. One strain of B. amyloliquefaciens, strain C6c, was characterized for indoleacetic acid (IAA) production, secretion of hydrolytic enzymes, phosphate solubilization, and antibiosis against pathogens. PCR was used to amplify lipopeptide genes and their secretion into culture media was detected by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Capability to promote growth of English ivy was evaluated in greenhouse experiments. The capacity of C6c to protect plants from disease was evaluated by exposing B+ (bacterium inoculated) and B- (non-inoculated) plants to the necrotrophic pathogen Alternaria tenuissima.
    B. amyloliquefaciens C6c systemically colonized leaves, petioles, and seeds of English ivy. C6c synthesized IAA and inhibited plant pathogens. MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry analysis revealed secretion of antifungal lipopeptides surfactin, iturin, bacillomycin, and fengycin. C6c promoted the growth of English ivy in low and high soil nitrogen conditions. This endophytic bacterium efficiently controlled disease caused by Alternaria tenuissima.
    This study suggests that B. amyloliquefaciens plays an important role in enhancing growth and disease protection of English ivy.
    Contribution #1957
  • Nicholas S. Johnson, Michael B. Twohey, Scott M. Miehls, Tim A. Cwalinski, Neal A. Godby, Aude Lochet, Jeffrey W. Slade, Aaron K. Jubar, and Michael J. Siefkes 2016 Evidence that sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) complete their life cycle within a tributary of the Laurentian Great Lakes by parasitizing fishes in inland lakes. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research 42 (1). pp. 90-98.

    The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) invaded the upper Laurentian Great Lakes and feeds on valued fish. The Cheboygan River, Michigan, USA, is a large sea lamprey producing tributary to Lake Huron and despite having a renovated dam 2 km from the river mouth that presumably blocks sea lamprey spawning migrations, the watershed upstream of the dam remains infested with larval sea lamprey. A navigational lock near the dam has been hypothesized as the means of escapement of adult sea lampreys from Lake Huron and source of the upper river population (H1). However, an alternative hypothesis (H2) is that some sea lampreys complete their life cycle upstream of the dam, without entering Lake Huron. To evaluate the alternative hypothesis, we gathered angler reports of lamprey wounds on game fishes upstream of the dam, and captured adult sea lampreys downstream and upstream of the dam to contrast abundance, run timing, size, and statolith microchemistry. Results indicate that a small population of adult sea lampreys (n < 200) completed their life cycle upstream of the dam during 2013 and 2014. This is the most comprehensive evidence that sea lampreys complete their life history within a tributary of the upper Great Lakes, and indicates that similar landlocked populations could occur in other watersheds. Because the adult sea lamprey population upstream of the dam is small, complete elimination of the already low adult escapement from Lake Huron might allow multiple control tactics such as lampricides, trapping, and sterile male release to eradicate the population.

    Contribution #1951


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