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U.S. Geological Survey - Great Lakes Science Center


  • Thomas R. Binder, Stephen C. Riley, Christopher M. Holbrook, Michael J. Hansen, Roger A. Bergstedt, Charles R. Bronte, Ji He, Charles C. Krueger 2016 Spawning site fidelity of wild and hatchery lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) in northern Lake Huron. NRC Research Press . Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 73 (1). pp. 18-34.

    Fidelity to high-quality spawning sites helps ensure that adults repeatedly spawn at sites that maximize reproductive success. Fidelity is also an important behavioural characteristic to consider when hatchery-reared individuals are stocked for species restoration because artificial rearing environments may interfere with cues that guide appropriate spawning site selection. Acoustic telemetry was used in conjunction with Cormack-Jolly-Seber capture-recapture models to compare degree of spawning site fidelity of wild and hatchery-reared lake trout in northern Lake Huron. Annual survival was estimated to be between 77% and 81% and did not differ among wild and hatchery males and females. Site fidelity estimates were high in both wild and hatchery-reared lake trout (ranging from 0.78 to 0.94, depending on group and time filter), but were slightly lower in hatchery-reared fish than wild fish. The ecological implication of the small difference in site fidelity between wild and hatchery-reared lake trout is unclear, but similarities in estimates suggest that many hatchery-reared fish use similar spawning sites to wild fish and that most return to those sites annually for spawning.

    Contribution #1950
  • Andrew Joseph Failla, Adrian Amelio Vasquez, Patrick L. Hudson, Masanori Fujimoto, and Jeffrey L. Ram 2016 Morphological identification and COI barcodes of adult flies help determine species identities of chironomid larvae (Diptera, Chironomidae). Cambridge University Press . Bulletin of Entomological Research 106 (1). pp. 34-36.

    Establishing reliable methods for the identification of benthic chironomid communities is important due to their significant contribution to biomass, ecology and the aquatic food web. Immature larval specimens are more difficult to identify to species level by traditional morphological methods than their fully developed adult counterparts, and few keys are available to identify the larval species. In order to develop molecular criteria to identify species of chironomid larvae, larval and adult chironomids from Western Lake Erie were subjected to both molecular and morphological taxonomic analysis. Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) barcode sequences of 33 adults that were identified to species level by morphological methods were grouped with COI sequences of 189 larvae in a neighbor-joining taxon-ID tree. Most of these larvae could be identified only to genus level by morphological taxonomy (only 22 of the 189 sequenced larvae could be identified to species level). The taxon-ID tree of larval sequences had 45 operational taxonomic units (OTUs, defined as clusters with >97% identity or individual sequences differing from nearest neighbors by >3%; supported by analysis of all larval pairwise differences), of which seven could be identified to species or ‘species group’ level by larval morphology. Reference sequences from the GenBank and BOLD databases assigned six larval OTUs with presumptive species level identifications and confirmed one previously assigned species level identification. Sequences from morphologically identified adults in the present study grouped with and further classified the identity of 13 larval OTUs. The use of morphological identification and subsequent DNA barcoding of adult chironomids proved to be beneficial in revealing possible species level identifications of larval specimens. Sequence data from this study also contribute to currently inadequate public databases relevant to the Great Lakes region, while the neighbor-joining analysis reported here describes the application and confirmation of a useful tool that can accelerate identification and bioassesment of chironomid communities.

    Contribution #1945
  • Istvan Imre, Ricky T. Rocco, Grant E. Brown, and Nicholas S. Johnson 2016 Habituation of adult sea lamprey repeatedly exposed to damage-released alarm and predator cues. Elsevier . Environmental Biology of Fishes 99 (8). pp. 613-620.

    Predation is an unforgiving selective pressure affecting the life history, morphology and behaviour of prey organisms. Selection should favour organisms that have the ability to correctly assess the information content of alarm cues. This study investigated whether adult sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus habituate to conspecific damage-released alarm cues (fresh and decayed sea lamprey extract), a heterospecific damage-released alarm cue (white sucker Catostomus commersonii extract), predator cues (Northern water snake Nerodia sipedon washing, human saliva and 2-phenylethylamine hydrochloride (PEA HCl)) and a conspecific damage-released alarm cue and predator cue combination (fresh sea lamprey extract and human saliva) after they were pre-exposed 4 times or 8 times, respectively, to a given stimulus the previous night. Consistent with our prediction, adult sea lamprey maintained an avoidance response to conspecific damage-released alarm cues (fresh and decayed sea lamprey extract), a predator cue presented at high relative concentration (PEA HCl) and a conspecific damage-released alarm cue and predator cue combination (fresh sea lamprey extract plus human saliva), irrespective of previous exposure level. As expected, adult sea lamprey habituated to a sympatric heterospecific damage-released alarm cue (white sucker extract) and a predator cue presented at lower relative concentration (human saliva). Adult sea lamprey did not show any avoidance of the Northern water snake washing and the Amazon sailfin catfish extract (heterospecific control). This study suggests that conspecific damage-released alarm cues and PEA HCl present the best options as natural repellents in an integrated management program aimed at controlling the abundance of sea lamprey in the Laurentian Great Lakes.

    Contribution #1943
  • Heather A. Dawson, Michael L. Jones, Brian J. Irwin, Nicholas S. Johnson, Michael C. Wagner, and Melissa D. Szymanski 2016 Management strategy evaluation of pheromone-baited trapping techniques to improve management of invasive sea lamprey. John Wiley & Sons . Natural Resource Modeling 29 (3). pp. 448-469.

    We applied a management strategy evaluation (MSE) model to examine the potential cost-effectiveness of using pheromone-baited trapping along with conventional lampricide treatment to manage invasive sea lamprey. Four pheromone-baited trapping strategies were modeled: (1) stream activation wherein pheromone was applied to existing traps to achieve 10-12 mol/L in-stream concentration, (2) stream activation plus two additional traps downstream with pheromone applied at 2.5 mg/hr (reverse-intercept approach), (3) trap activation wherein pheromone was applied at 10 mg/hr to existing traps, and (4) trap activation and reverse-intercept approach. Each new strategy was applied, with remaining funds applied to conventional lampricide control. Simulating deployment of these hybrid strategies on fourteen Lake Michigan streams resulted in increases of 17 and 11% (strategies 1 and 2) and decreases of 4 and 7% (strategies 3 and 4) of the lakewide mean abundance of adult sea lamprey relative to status quo. MSE revealed performance targets for trap efficacy to guide additional research because results indicate that combining lampricides and high efficacy trapping technologies can reduce sea lamprey abundance on average without increasing control costs.

    Contribution #1926
  • Grace Handley, Cynthia M. Frantz, Patrick M. Kocovsky, Dennis R. DeVries, Steven J. Cooke, and Julie Claussen 2015 An Examination of Gender Differences in the American Fisheries Society Peer-Review Process. Taylor & Francis . Fisheries 40 (9). pp. 442-451.

    This study investigated the possibility of gender differences in outcomes throughout the peer review process of American Fisheries Society (AFS) journals. For each manuscript submitted to four AFS journals between January 2003 and December 2010, we collated information regarding the gender and nationality of authors, gender of associate editor, gender of reviewers, reviewer recommendations, associate editor's decision, and publication status of the manuscript. We used hierarchical linear modeling to test for differences in manuscript decision outcomes associated with author, reviewer, and associate editor gender. Gender differences were present at some but not every stage of the review process and were not equal among the four journals. Although there was a small gender difference in decision outcomes, we found no evidence of bias in editors’ and reviewers’ recommendations. Our results support the conclusion that the current single-blind review system does not result in bias against female authors within AFS journals.

    Contribution #1956
  • David B. Bunnell, Bruce M. Davis, Margret A. Chriscinske, Kevin M. Keeler, and Justin G. Mychek-Londer 2015 Diet shifts by planktivorous and benthivorous fishes in northern Lake Michigan in response to ecosystem changes. Elsevier . Journal of Great Lakes Research 41 (Supplement 3). pp. 161-171.

    In Lake Michigan, diets of planktivorous and benthivorous fishes have varied over the past decades, in part owing to food web changes. To update diet information and compare them to a similar effort in 1994–1995, we analyzed the diets of seven benthivorous and planktivorous fish species collected along two northern Lake Michigan transects that spanned nearshore (18 m), intermediate (46 m), and offshore (91, 110, 128 m) bottom depths during spring, summer, and autumn of 2010. Calanoid copepods (e.g., Limnocalanus macrurus, Leptodiaptomus sicilis, and Senecella calanoides) comprised a majority of the diets in at least one season for all sizes of alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), bloater (Coregonus hoyi), and rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Similarly, Mysis diluviana was the highest proportion in at least one season for large sizes of alewife, bloater, and rainbow smelt, as well as slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus) and deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii). The diets of the remaining two species, ninespine stickleback (Pungitius pungitius) and round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), were dominated by herbivorous cladocerans or dreissenid mussels, respectively. Interspecific diet overlap was minimal at 18 and 46 m. In offshore waters, however, overlap was relatively high, driven by frequent consumption of Mysis. Relative to 1994–1995, 2010 diets revealed increased feeding on calanoid copepods and Mysis, with corresponding declining consumption of Diporeia spp. and herbivorous cladocerans. Relative diet weight was also higher in 1994–1995 than in 2010 for small and large bloater and both sculpin species. We hypothesize that the shifts in diets are reflective of community-level changes in invertebrate prey availability.

    Contribution #1955
  • Tyler J. Buchinger, Weiming Li, and Nicholas S. Johnson 2015 Behavioral evidence for a role of chemoreception during reproduction in lake trout. NRC Research Press . Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 72 (12). pp. 1847-1852.

    Chemoreception is hypothesized to influence spawning site selection, mate search, and synchronization of gamete release in charrs (Salvelinus sp.), but behavioral evidence is generally lacking. Here, we provide a survey of the behavioral responses of reproductive male and female lake trout (S. namaycush) to natural conspecific chemosensory stimuli. A flow-through laboratory assay with side-by-side artificial spawning reefs was used to evaluate behavioral preferences of spawning-phase males and females for chemosensory stimuli from juveniles and from spawning-phase males and females. Males and females preferred male and juvenile stimuli over no stimuli, but only had weak preferences for female stimuli. Only females had a preference for male over juvenile stimuli when given a direct choice between the two. The unexpected observation of male attraction to male stimuli, even when offered female stimuli, indicates a fundamental difference from the existing models of chemical communication in fishes. We discuss our results from the perspectives of pre-spawning aggregation, mate evaluation, and spawning synchronization. Identification of specific components of the stimuli will allow confirmation of the function, and may have management implications for native and invasive populations of lake trout that are ecologically and economically important.

    Contribution #1954
  • Emily W. Studdert and James H. Johnson 2015 Seasonal Variation in Habitat Use of Juvenile Steelhead in a Tributary of Lake Ontario. Eagle Hill Publications . Northeastern Naturalist 22 (4). pp. 717-729.

    We examined seasonal-habitat use by subyearling and yearling Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow Trout or Steelhead) in Trout Brook, a tributary of the Salmon River, NY. We determined daytime fish-habitat use and available habitat during August and October of the same year and observed differences in habitat selection among year classes. Water depth and cover played the greatest role in Steelhead habitat use. During summer and autumn, we found yearling Steelhead in areas with deeper water and more cover than where we observed subyearling Steelhead. Both year classes sought out areas with abundant cover during both seasons; this habitat was limited within the stream reach. Subyearling Steelhead were associated with more cover during autumn, even though available cover within the stream reach was greater during summer. Principal component analysis showed that variation in seasonal-habitat use was most pronounced for subyearling Steelhead and that yearling Steelhead were more selective in their habitat use than subyearling Steelhead. The results of this study contribute to a greater understanding of how this popular sportfish is adapting to a new environment and the factors that may limit juvenile Steelhead survival. Our findings provide valuable new insights into the seasonal-habitat requirements of subyearling and yearling Steelhead that can be used by fisheries managers to enhance and protect the species throughout the Great Lakes region.

    Contribution #1953
  • Jaquelyn M. Craig, David A. Mifsud, Andrew S. Briggs, James Boase, and Gregory W. Kennedy 2015 Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus maculosus) spatial distribution, breeding water depth, and use of artificial spawning habitat in the Detroit River. Herpetological Conservation and Biology . Herpetological Conservation and Biology 10 (3). pp. 926-934.

    Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus maculosus) populations have been declining in the Great Lakes region of North America.  However, during fisheries assessments in the Detroit River, we documented Mudpuppy reproduction when we collected all life stages from egg through adult as by-catch in fisheries assessments.  Ten years of fisheries sampling resulted in two occurrences of Mudpuppy egg collection and 411 Mudpuppies ranging in size from 37–392 mm Total Length, collected from water 3.5–15.1 m deep.  Different types of fisheries gear collected specific life stages; spawning females used cement structures for egg deposition, larval Mudpuppies found refuge in eggmats, and we caught adults with baited setlines and minnow traps.  Based on logistic regression models for setlines and minnow traps, there was a higher probability of catching adult Mudpuppies at lower temperatures and in shallower water with reduced clarity.  In addition to documenting the presence of all life stages of this sensitive species in a deep and fast-flowing connecting channel, we were also able to show that standard fisheries research equipment can be used for Mudpuppy research in areas not typically sampled in herpetological studies.  Our observations show that typical fisheries assessments and gear can play an important role in data collection for Mudpuppy population and spawning assessments.

    Contribution #1952
  • Orlane Anneville, Emilien Lasne, Jean Guillard, Reiner Eckmann, Jason D. Stockwell, Christian Gillet, and Daniel L. Yule 2015 Impact of Fishing and Stocking Practices on Coregonid Diversity. Scientific Research . Food and Nutrition Sciences 6 (11). pp. 1045-1055.

    Fish species diversity can be lost through interacting stressors including habitat loss, stocking and overfishing. Although a multitude of stressors have played a role in the global decline of coregonid (Coregonus spp.) diversity, a number of contemporary studies have identified habitat loss stemming from eutrophication as the primary cause. Unfortunately, reconstructing the role of fishing and stocking practices can be difficult, because these records are incomplete or appear only in hard-to-access historic grey literature. Based on an illustrative set of historic and contemporary studies, we describe how fisheries management practices may have contributed to coregonid diversity loss in European and North American lakes. We provide case studies examining how fishing and stocking may reduce coregonid diversity through demographic decline and introgressive hybridization. In some lakes, fisheries management practices may have led to a loss of coregonid diversity well before issues with habitat degradation manifested. Our review suggests that fish conservation policies could beneficially consider the relative importance of all stressors, including management practices, as potential drivers of diversity loss.

    Contribution #1949


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