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Maureen Walsh

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Deepwater sculpin are important in oligotrophic lakes as one of the few fishes that use deep profundal habitats and link invertebrates in those habitats to piscivores. In Lake Ontario the species was once abundant, however drastic declines in the mid-1900s led some to suggest the species had been extirpated and ultimately led Canadian and U.S. agencies to elevate the species' conservation status. Following two decades of surveys with no captures, deepwater sculpin were first caught in low numbers in 1996 and by the early 2000s there were indications of population recovery. We updated the status of Lake Ontario deepwater sculpin through 2016 to inform resource management and conservation. Our data set was comprised...
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The forage fish communities of the Laurentian Great Lakes continue to experience changes that have altered ecosystem structure, yet little is known about how they partition resources. Seasonal, spatial and body size variation in δ13C and δ15N was used to assess isotopic niche overlap and resource and habitat partitioning among the five common offshore Lake Ontario forage fish species (n = 2037) [Alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), Rainbow Smelt (Osmerus mordax), Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus), and Deepwater (Myoxocephalus thompsonii) and Slimy (Cottus cognatus) Sculpin]. Round Goby had the largest isotopic niche (6.1‰2, standard ellipse area (SEAC)), followed by Alewife (3.4‰2) while Rainbow Smelt, Slimy Sculpin...
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The 2013 benthic fish assessment was delayed and shortened as a result of the U.S. Government shutdown, however the assessment collected 51 of the 62 planned bottom trawls. Over the past 34 years, Slimy Sculpin abundance in Lake Ontario has fluctuated, but ultimately decreased by two orders of magnitude, with a substantial decline occurring in the past 10 years. The 2013 Slimy Sculpin mean bottom trawl catch density (0.001 ind.·m-2, s.d.= 0.0017, n = 52) and mean biomass density (0.015 g·m-2 , s.d.= 0.038, n = 52) were the lowest recorded in the 27 years of sampling using the original bottom trawl design. From 2011-2013, the Slimy Sculpin density and biomass density has decreased by approximately 50% each year....
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Offshore spring total phosphorus (TP) in 2015 was 4.2 μ g/L, the same as in 2014; this is lower than 2001 - 2013, but there is no significant time trend 2001 - 2015. Offshore soluble reactive phosphorus (SRP) was very low in 2015; Apr/May - Oct mean values were <1 μ g/L at most sites. SRP has been stable in nearshore and offshore habitats since 1998 (range, 0.4 – 3.3 μ g/L). TP concentrations were low at both nearshore and offshore locations (range 4.2 - 8.1 μ g/L), and TP and SRP concentrations were significantly higher in the nearshore as compared to the offshore (6.8 μ g/L vs 4.8 μ g/L, TP; 1.1 μ g/L vs 0.7 μ g/L, SRP).Chlorophyll-a and Secchi depth values are indicative of oligotrophic conditions in nearshore...
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Description of Work USGS scientists will support EPA's year of intensive sampling around the Great Lakes to complement and expand upon EPA and other partner entities work. In 2013, on Lake Ontario USGS will sample the food web from a nearshore (20 m) to offshore (100 m) gradient where seasonal sampling of primary producers, benthic invertebrates, zooplankton, prey fish, sport fish, and their diets will occur. We will work closely with state management agencies and stakeholder groups to ensure that ecosystem models that emerge from this work explore relevant future management scenarios. Scientists will analyze the diets of the six species of trout and salmon currently occurring in Lake Ontario. This predator diet...
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