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Evidence from small lakes suggests that predation on larval ciscoes Coregonus artedi by nonnative rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax can lead to cisco suppression or extirpation. However, evidence from larger lakes has led to equivocal conclusions. In this study, we examine the potential predation effects of rainbow smelt in two adjacent but contrasting embayments in Lake Superior (Thunder and Black bays, Ontario). During May 2006, we sampled the ichthyoplankton, pelagic fish communities, and diet composition of rainbow smelt in both bays. Using acoustics and midwater trawling, we estimated rainbow smelt densities to be 476 ± 34/ha (mean ± SE) in Thunder Bay and 3,435 ± 460/ha in Black Bay. We used a bioenergetics model...
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In 2015, the Lake Superior fish community was sampled with daytime bottom trawls at 76 nearshore and 33 offshore stations. Spring and summer water temperatures in 2015 were colder than average, but warmer than that observed in 2014. In the nearshore zone, a total of 11,882 individuals from 22 species or morphotypes were collected. Nearshore lakewide mean biomass was 1.8 kg/ha, which was near the lowest biomass on record for this survey since it began in 1978. In the offshore zone, a total 12,433 individuals from 8 species or morphotypes were collected lakewide. Offshore lakewide mean biomass was 5.9 kg/ha. The mean of the four previous years was 7.1 kg/ha. The abundance of age-1 Cisco was 14.3 fish/ha which was...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Standardized methods of data collection and analysis ensure quality and facilitate comparisons among systems. We evaluated the importance of three recommendations from the Standard Operating Procedure for hydroacoustics in the Laurentian Great Lakes (GLSOP) on density estimates of target species: noise subtraction; setting volume backscattering strength (Sv) thresholds from user-defined minimum target strength (TS) of interest (TS-based Sv threshold); and calculations of an index for multiple targets (Nv index) to identify and remove biased TS values. Eliminating noise had the predictable effect of decreasing density estimates in most lakes. Using the TS-based Sv threshold decreased fish densities in the middle...
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Cisco (Coregonus artedi Leseur, formerly lake herring Leucichthys artedi Leseur) populations in each of the Laurentian Great Lakes collapsed between the late 1920s and early 1960s following a multitude of stressors, and never recovered in Lakes Michigan, Erie and Ontario. Prior to their collapse, Koelz (1929) studied Leucichthys spp. in the Great Lakes basin and provided a description of their diversity. Three cisco morphotypes were described; a ‘slim terete’morphotype (L. artedi artedi), a ‘deep compressed’ morphotype (L. artedi albus), and a deep-bodied form resembling tullibee in western Canadian lakes (L. artedi manitoulinus). Based on body measurements of 159 individuals (Koelz 1929), we used discriminant function...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Advances in Limnology
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We determined whole-fish polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) concentrations of 25 male and 25 female age-7 ciscoes (Coregonus artedi) captured from a spawning aggregation in Thunder Bay, Lake Superior, during November 2010. We also determined PCB concentrations in the ovaries and somatic tissue of five additional female ciscoes (ages 5–22). All 55 of these ciscoes were in ripe or nearly ripe condition. Bioenergetics modeling was used to determine the contribution of the growth dilution effect toward a difference in PCB concentrations between the sexes, as females grew substantially faster than males. Results showed that the PCB concentration of males (mean = 141 ng/g) was 43% greater than that of females (mean = 98 ng/g),...
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Diel migration patterns of fishes in nearshore (15–80 m depth) and offshore (>80 m) waters of Lake Superior were examined to assess the potential for diel migration to link benthic and pelagic, and nearshore and offshore habitats. In our companion article, we described three types of diel migration: diel vertical migration (DVM), diel bank migration (DBM), and no diel migration. DVM was expressed by fishes migrating from benthopelagic to pelagic positions and DBM was expressed by fishes migrating horizontally from deep to shallow waters at night. Fishes not exhibiting diel migration typically showed increased activity by moving from benthic to benthopelagic positions within demersal habitat. The distribution and...
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All examples of lake charr (Salvelinus namaycush) diversity occur within the largest, deepest lakes of North America (i.e. > 2000 km2). We report here Rush Lake (1.3 km2) as the first example of a small lake with two lake charr morphs (lean and huronicus). Morphology, diet, life history, and genetics were examined to demonstrate the existence of morphs and determine the potential influence of evolutionary processes that led to their formation or maintenance. Results showed that the huronicus morph, caught in deep-water, had a deeper body, smaller head and jaws, higher eye position, greater buoyancy, and deeper peduncle than the shallow-water lean morph. Huronicus grew slower to a smaller adult size, and had an older...
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1. We sampled Lake Bourget (surface area = 44 km2) using CEN standard gillnet and provisional standard acoustic survey methods over 3 years (2005, 2010 and 2011) as the fish community responded to re-oligotrophication. A total of 16 species were caught in benthic gillnets and three species in pelagic gillnets. 2. Lake Bourget results were consistent with a recent study (Emmrich et al., Freshwater Biology, 57, 2012, 2436) showing strong correspondence between average biomass-per-unit-effort (BPUE) in standard benthic gillnets and average acoustic volume backscattering when smaller lakes (0.25–5.45 km2) were treated as sample units. 3. The BPUE of whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), perch (Perca fluviatilis) and roach...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Freshwater Biology
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1. We hypothesised that the autumn spawning migration of Lake Superior cisco (Coregonus artedi) provides a resource subsidy, in the form of energy-rich cisco eggs, from the offshore pelagic to the nearshore benthic community over winter, when alternate prey production is likely to be low. 2. We tested this hypothesis using fish and macroinvertebrate surveys, fish population demographics, diet and stable isotope analyses, and bioenergetics modelling. 3. The benthic, congeneric lake whitefish (C. clupeaformis) was a clear beneficiary of cisco spawning. Cisco eggs represented 16% of lake whitefish annual consumption in terms of biomass, but 34% of energy (because of their high energy density: >10 kJ g wet mass−1)....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Freshwater Biology
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Cisco Coregonus artedi form pre-spawning aggregations in Lake Superior during November with the bulk of spawning occurring during late November through early December (Dryer and Beil 1964). Eggs are broadcast into open water (Smith 1956) with fertilized eggs settling to the lakebed (Dryer and Beil 1964). Peak hatching occurs the following May (United States Geological Survey – Great Lakes Science Center, GLSC, unpublished data). Interannual variability in year class strength is high, but tends to be synchronous across different regions of Lake Superior (Bronte et al. 2003). November 2005 sampling of Thunder Bay showed 14 year-classes were present with the oldest fish being from the 1984 year-class (Yule et al. 2008)....
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Diel vertical migrations are common among many aquatic species and are often associated with changing light levels. The underlying mechanisms are generally attributed to optimizing foraging efficiency or growth rates and avoiding predation risk (μ). The objectives of this study were to (1) assess seasonal and interannual changes in vertical migration patterns of three trophic levels in the Lake Superior pelagic food web and (2) examine the mechanisms underlying the observed variability by using models of foraging, growth, and μ. Our results suggest that the opossum shrimp Mysis diluviana, kiyi Coregonus kiyi, and siscowet lake trout Salvelinus namaycush migrate concurrently during each season, but spring migrations...
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The relative importance of predation and food availability as contributors to larval cisco (Coregonus artedi) mortality in Lake Superior were investigated using a visual foraging model to evaluate potential predation pressure by rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax) and a bioenergetic model to evaluate potential starvation risk. The models were informed by observations of rainbow smelt, larval cisco, and zooplankton abundance at three Lake Superior locations during the period of spring larval cisco emergence and surface-oriented foraging. Predation risk was highest at Black Bay, ON, where average rainbow smelt densities in the uppermost 10 m of the water column were >1000 ha−1. Turbid conditions at the Twin Ports, WI-MN,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Ecological Modelling
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In 2013, the Lake Superior fish community was sampled with daytime bottom trawls at 79 nearshore and 35 offshore locations. In the nearshore zone, a total of 23,432 individuals of 27 species or morphotypes were collected. Nearshore lakewide mean biomass was 5.5 kg ha-1, which was slightly higher than that observed in the past few years, but below the long-term average of 8.8 kg ha-1. In the offshore zone, a total 20,371 individuals of 13 species were collected lakewide. Offshore lakewide mean biomass was 8.9 kg ha-1, which was similar to that observed in previous years.
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Because it is not possible to identify species with echosounders alone, trawling is widely used as a method for collecting species and size composition data for allocating acoustic fish density estimates to species or size groups. In the Laurentian Great Lakes, data from midwater trawls are commonly used for such allocations. However, there are no rules for how much midwater trawling effort is required to adequately describe species and size composition of the pelagic fish communities in these lakes, so the balance between acoustic sampling effort and trawling effort has been unguided. We used midwater trawl data collected between 1986 and 2008 in lakes Michigan and Huron and a variety of analytical techniques to...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fisheries Research
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Acoustic (AC) and midwater trawl (MT) surveys of spawning cisco (Coregonus artedi) in Lake Superior have been combined with commercial yield to estimate exploitation. To time surveys properly, it is important to understand when adults typically arrive at spawning grounds and how numbers change as the spawning season progresses. We conducted repeat autumn surveys during nighttime hours at coastal sites where commercial roe fisheries occur. Spawner densities increased significantly from October to mid-November, but differences measured at sites sampled from mid- to late-November were comparatively small. Spawners occupied the upper 20–30 m of the water column during mid-November before utilizing a wider range of depths...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Advances in Limnology
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Acoustic methods are used to estimate the density of pelagic fish in large lakes with results of midwater trawling used to assign species composition. Apportionment in lakes having mixed species can be challenging because only a small fraction of the water sampled acoustically is sampled with trawl gear. Here we describe a new method where single echo detections (SEDs) are assigned to species based on classification tree models developed from catch data that separate species based on fish size and the spatial habitats they occupy. During the summer of 2011, we conducted a spatially-balanced lake-wide acoustic and midwater trawl survey of Lake Superior. A total of 51 sites in four bathymetric depth strata (0–30 m,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fisheries Research
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We sampled with acoustics (AC) and midwater trawls (MT) to determine cisco abundance in Lake Superior’s Thunder and Black bays during 8-14 November, 2009. Total abundance of spawning-size (≥ 250 mm total length) ciscoes was estimated at 6.25 million in Thunder Bay and 1.12 million in Black Bay. Exploitation fractions of market-size (≥ age 6) females from Thunder and Black bays for 2009 were estimated at 7.1% and 11.3%, respectively; below the recommended maximum annual harvest of 15% recently adopted by Lake Superior fisheries managers. Given Thunder Bay spawner densities are on a downward trajectory, and recruitment since the 2003 year-class has been low, it is likely the exploitation fractions will increase in...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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We examined the spatial scale of recruitment variability for disparate cisco (Coregonus artedi) populations in the Great Lakes (n = 8) and Minnesota inland lakes (n = 4). We found that the scale of synchrony was approximately 400 km when all available data were utilized; much greater than the 50-km scale suggested for freshwater fish populations in an earlier global analysis. The presence of recruitment synchrony between Great Lakes and inland lake cisco populations supports the hypothesis that synchronicity is driven by climate and not dispersal. We also found synchrony in larval densities among three Lake Superior populations separated by 25–275 km, which further supports the hypothesis that broad-scale climatic...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Fisheries Research
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In large lakes around the world, depth-based changes in the abundance and distribution of invertebrate and fish species suggest that there may be concomitant changes in patterns of resource allocation. Using Lake Superior of the Laurentian Great Lakes as an example, we explored this idea through stable isotope analyses of 13 major fish taxa. Patterns in carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios revealed use of both littoral and profundal benthos among populations of most taxa analysed regardless of the depth of their habitat, providing evidence of nearshore–offshore trophic linkages in the largest freshwater lake by area in the world. Isotope-mixing model results indicated that the overall importance of benthic food-web...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation; Tags: Freshwater Biology
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We synthesized data from multiple sampling programs and years to describe the Lake Superior pelagic biomass size structure. Data consisted of Coulter counts for phytoplankton, optical plankton counts for zooplankton, and acoustic surveys for pelagic prey fish. The size spectrum was stable across two time periods separated by 5 years. The primary scaling or overall slope of the normalized biomass size spectra for the combined years was −1.113, consistent with a previous estimate for Lake Superior (−1.10). Periodic dome structures within the overall biomass size structure were fit to polynomial regressions based on the observed sub-domes within the classical taxonomic positions (algae, zooplankton, and fish). This...


map background search result map search result map Repeat surveys of spawning cisco (<i>Coregonus artedi</i>) in western Lake Superior: timing, distribution and composition of spawning stocks Seasonally dynamic diel vertical migrations of <i>Mysis diluviana</i>, coregonine fishes, and siscowet lake trout in the pelagia of western Lake Superior Reassessment of the predatory effects of rainbow smelt on ciscoes in Lake Superior Use of classification trees to apportion single echo detections to species: Application to the pelagic fish community of Lake Superior Habitat use by fishes of Lake Superior. II. Consequences of diel habitat use for habitat linkages and habitat coupling in nearshore and offshore waters Habitat coupling in a large lake system: delivery of an energy subsidy by an offshore planktivore to the nearshore zone of Lake Superior Comparing two fish sampling standards over time: largely congruent results but with caveats Males exceed females in PCB concentrations of cisco (<i>Coregonus artedi</i>) from Lake Superior Morphometric variation among spawning cisco aggregations in the Laurentian Great Lakes: are historic forms still present? Relationship between mid-water trawling effort and catch composition uncertainty in two large lakes (Huron and Michigan) dominated by alosines, osmerids, and coregonines Sensitivity of fish density estimates to standard analytical procedures applied to Great Lakes hydroacoustic data Males exceed females in PCB concentrations of cisco (<i>Coregonus artedi</i>) from Lake Superior Habitat coupling in a large lake system: delivery of an energy subsidy by an offshore planktivore to the nearshore zone of Lake Superior Use of classification trees to apportion single echo detections to species: Application to the pelagic fish community of Lake Superior Seasonally dynamic diel vertical migrations of <i>Mysis diluviana</i>, coregonine fishes, and siscowet lake trout in the pelagia of western Lake Superior Repeat surveys of spawning cisco (<i>Coregonus artedi</i>) in western Lake Superior: timing, distribution and composition of spawning stocks Habitat use by fishes of Lake Superior. II. Consequences of diel habitat use for habitat linkages and habitat coupling in nearshore and offshore waters Reassessment of the predatory effects of rainbow smelt on ciscoes in Lake Superior Relationship between mid-water trawling effort and catch composition uncertainty in two large lakes (Huron and Michigan) dominated by alosines, osmerids, and coregonines Morphometric variation among spawning cisco aggregations in the Laurentian Great Lakes: are historic forms still present? Sensitivity of fish density estimates to standard analytical procedures applied to Great Lakes hydroacoustic data