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For over 30 years, Lake Michigan’s food web has been in a constant state of transition from reductions in nutrient loading and proliferation of invasive species at multiple trophic levels. In particular, there has been concern about impacts from the invasive predatory cercopagids (Bythotrephes longimanus and Cercopagis pengoi) and expanding dreissenid mussel and round goby populations. This special issue brings together papers that explore the status of the Lake Michigan food web and the factors responsible for these changes, and suggests research paths that must be taken for understanding and predicting system behavior. This introductory paper describes the special issue origin, presents an overview of the papers,...
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Recent observations of spawning lake trout Salvelinus namaycush near Drummond Island in northern Lake Huron indicate that lake trout use drumlins, landforms created in subglacial environments by the action of ice sheets, as a primary spawning habitat. From these observations, we generated a hypothesis that may in part explain locations chosen by lake trout for spawning. Most salmonines spawn in streams where they rely on streamflows to sort and clean sediments to create good spawning habitat. Flows sufficient to sort larger sediment sizes are generally lacking in lakes, but some glacial bedforms contain large pockets of sorted sediments that can provide the interstitial spaces necessary for lake trout egg incubation,...
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Massive accumulations of Cladophora, a ubiquitous, filamentous green alga, have been increasingly reported along Great Lakes shorelines, negatively affecting beach aesthetics, recreational activities, public health and beachfront property values. Previously, the decomposition byproducts of decaying algae have not been thoroughly examined. To better understand the negative consequences and potential merit of the stranded Cladophora, a three month mesocosm study of the dynamic chemical environment of the alga was conducted using fresh samples collected from southern Lake Michigan beaches. Typical fermentation products, such as organic acids, sulfide compounds, and alcohols were detected in the oxygen–deprived algae....
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We investigated the seasonal occurrence of Hemimysis anomala in the diets of fish that prey on macroinvertebrates at two sites with established Hemimysis populations east of Oswego, NY, during 2009-2010. In 2009, we examined 320 stomachs from 10 species and found Hemimysis only in alewife (Alosa pseudoharengus), rockbass (Ambloplites rupestris), and yellow perch (Perca flavescens). Of those species, alewife consumed Hemimysis most frequently and it represented a greater proportion of their diets. During 2009, the dry weight composition of Hemimysis in alewife diets varied seasonally between <1% in June, 5% in July, 98.5% in August, and 18.8% in September. In contrast, we examined 667 stomachs from 15 species in...
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Recent studies proposed the use of chemosensory alarm cues to control the distribution of invasive sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus populations in the Laurentian Great Lakes and necessitate the evaluation of sea lamprey chemosensory alarm cues on valuable sympatric species such as white sucker. In two laboratory experiments, 10 replicate groups (10 animals each) of migratory white suckers were exposed to deionized water (control), conspecific whole-body extract, heterospecific whole-body extract (sea lamprey) and two potential predator cues (2-phenylethylamine HCl (PEA HCl) and human saliva) during the day, and exposed to the first four of the above cues at night. White suckers avoided the conspecific and the sea...
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Previously described models for predicting the percent of Lake Ontario wetlands that would be occupied by sedge/grass-dominated meadow marsh were used to test four proposed new plans for regulation of lake levels and to make comparisons with the current plan and unregulated conditions. The models for drowned river mouth, barrier beach, open embayment, and protected embayment wetlands assessed responses to lake levels that would be generated by each plan under net total supplies modified from those that occurred from1900 to 2000. In years when reduced supplies would allow meadow marsh regeneration, simulated unregulated lake levels produced the most meadow marsh in all wetland geomorphic types; current Plan 1958DD...
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The lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) is one of the native Lake Ontario fishes that declined severely over the past century. Recent evidence of larval lake whitefish production in a historic spawning area (Chaumont Bay) might signal a recovery of this species in New York waters. We surveyed coastal and open water areas to evaluate densities and estimate total abundance of larval lake whitefish in Chaumont Bay. Other historic spawning areas and embayments with appropriate spawning and nursery habitat were also surveyed, but only a few larvae were found outside of Chaumont Bay. Lake whitefish larvae were found in every embayment sampled within Chaumont Bay, with larval densities of nearly 600/1000 m2 in some...
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Coastal wetland seed banks exposed by low lake levels or through management actions fuel the reestablishment of emergent plant assemblages (i.e., wetland habitat) critical to Great Lakes aquatic biota. This project explored the effectiveness of using portable, water-filled cofferdams as a management tool to promote the natural growth of emergent vegetation from the seed bank in a Lake Erie coastal wetland. A series of dams stretching approximately 450??m was installed temporarily to isolate hydrologically a 10-ha corner of the Crane Creek wetland complex from Lake Erie. The test area was dewatered in 2004 to mimic a low-water year, and vegetation sampling characterized the wetland seed bank response at low, middle,...
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We examined trends in species composition and abundance of the St. Marys River fish community. Abundance data were available approximately once every six years from 1975 through 2006, and size and age data were available from 1995 through 2006. We also compared survey data in 2006 with results of a concurrent creel survey that year, as well as data from prior surveys spanning a 69 year time frame. The St. Marys River fish community was best characterized as a coolwater fish community with apparent little variation in species composition, and only slight variation in overall fish abundance since 1975. However, we did find recent trends in abundance among target species sought by anglers: centrarchids increased, percids...
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We identified an objective set of 25 commonly available ecosystem metrics applicable across the world's large continental freshwater and brackish aquatic ecosystem. These metrics measure trophic structure, exploited species, habitat alteration, and catchment changes. We used long-term trends in these metrics as indicators of perturbations that represent an ecosystem not in homeostasis. We defined a healthy ecosystem as being in a homeostatic state; therefore, ecosystems with many changing trends were defined as more disturbed than ecosystems with fewer changing trends. Healthy ecosystems (lakes Baikal, Superior, and Tanganyika) were large, deep lakes in relatively unpopulated areas with no signs of eutrophication...
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Long-term trends in the abundance of unionids in the western basin of Lake Erie were examined from data collected at 17 stations in 1961, 1972, and 1982. The mean number of unionids at these stations declined over this time period, decreasing from 10 m−2 in 1961, to 6 m−2 in 1972, down to 4 m−2 in 1982. This decline in abundance was reflected in the decrease in the number of stations where mussels were found; unionids were found at 16 of the 17 stations in 1961, but at only 6 stations in 1982. Reasons for the decrease in the unionid population are not generally apparent, but are probably related to the decline in water quality and periods of low oxygen levels over the time period of the surveys.
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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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Daily loads of suspended sediment and total phosphorus for the 10-year, 1-day design high flow and average of the 16-year period (1975 to 1990) were computed for 18 well-monitored tributaries to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior by use of constituent-transport models. The loads from these 18 reference tributaries were used to estimate the loads from all the United States tributaries (with drainage basins greater than 325 km2) to Lake Michigan and Lake Superior by selection of a reference tributary with the most similar physical characteristics and use of a unit-area yield. Statistical comparisons between computed yields and environmental factors were used to determine the physical characteristics that were most influential...
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Cercopagis pengoi, a zooplanktivore first discovered in Lake Ontario in 1998, may reduce availability of prey for planktivorous fish. Cercoapgis pengoi is most abundant in late summer and fall. Therefore, we hypothesized that abundance of small zooplankton (bosminids and cyclopoids) species would decrease at that time. To determine if the establishment of C. pengoi was followed by changes in the zooplankton community, seasonal patterns in nearshore zooplankton collected from May to October 1995–2000 were examined. Early summer density of small zooplankton was similar in all years while late summer and fall densities were significantly lower in 1998–2000 than in 1995–1997. The declines of small zooplankton coincided...
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Movement ecology is an important component of life history and population dynamics, and consequently its understanding can inform successful fishery management decision-making. While lake trout populations in Lake Huron have shown signs of recovery from near extinction in recent years, knowledge of their movement behavior remains incomplete. We used acoustic telemetry to describe and compare movement patterns of two Lake Huron lake trout populations: Drummond Island and Thunder Bay. Both populations showed high spawning site fidelity, with no evidence of co-mingling during non-spawning season. Detections between spawning periods were mainly limited to receivers within 100 km of spawning locations, and suggested...
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Understanding fish habitat use is important in determining conditions that ultimately affect fish energetics, growth and reproduction. Great Lakes lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) have demonstrated dramatic changes in growth and life history traits since the appearance of dreissenid mussels in the Great Lakes, but the role of habitat occupancy in driving these changes is poorly understood. To better understand temporal changes in lake whitefish depth of capture (Dw), we compiled a database of fishery-independent surveys representing multiple populations across all five Laurentian Great Lakes. By demonstrating the importance of survey design in estimating Dw, we describe a novel method for detecting survey-based...
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In fisheries, imprecise measurements in catch data from surveys adds uncertainty to the results of fishery stock assessments. The USGS Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) began to survey the fall fish community of Lake Michigan in 1962 with bottom trawls. The measurement error was evaluated at the level of individual tows for nine fish species collected in this survey by applying a measurement-error regression model to replicated trawl data. It was found that the estimates of measurement-error variance ranged from 0.37 (deepwater sculpin, Myoxocephalus thompsoni) to 1.23 (alewife, Alosa pseudoharengus) on a logarithmic scale corresponding to a coefficient of variation = 66% to 156%. The estimates appeared to increase...
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Understanding fishing fleet dynamics is important when using fishery dependent data to infer the status of fish stocks. We analyzed data from mandatory catch reports from the commercial lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) fishery in Michigan waters of Lake Superior during 1929-1961, a period when lake trout populations collapsed through the combined effects of overfishing and sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) predation. The number of full-time fishermen increased during 1933-1943 and then decreased during 1943-1957. Addition of new fishermen was related to past yield, market prices, World War II draft exemptions, and lost fishing opportunities in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. Loss of existing fishermen was related...
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Newly hatched fry were acclimated to 7 or 12A?C and either fed daily (controls) or denied food for varying lengths of time and then fed daily until the end of the study (day 91 at 7A?C and day 43 at 12A?C). Growth was reduced by delays in the onset of feeding of 27 or more days at 7A?C and 7 or more days at 12A?C. Mortality of fry unfed for more than 34 days at 7A?C, or more than 21 days at 12A?C, was higher than among controls. Daily mortality increased with the length of the food deprivation period and did not cease immediately when food was made available, but reached zero by the end of the study. Mortality among unfed fry reached 50% in about 59 days at 7A?C and 32 days at 12A?C. Study results permitted calculation...
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Alewives (Alosa pseudoharengus) were first reported in Lake Superior in 1954 and gradually increased in abundance in the late 1950s. In the 1960s and early 1970s, the fish were widespread in the lake but scarce. We determined the more recent abundance and distribution of alewives by cross-contour trawling in the spring in 1978–1988. Alewives were scarce lake-wide; the mean catch rate was only 23 fish per 100 h of trawling and represented a density of 0.003 kg per hectare in the area swept by the trawls. Fish of six age groups were caught in trawls in spring and gill nets in fall in 1983–1987. Total annual mortality was 64%, a high natural rate in the absence of fishing. Alewives in Lake Superior were small at the...


map background search result map search result map Long-term trends in the St. Marys River open water fish community Metrics of ecosystem status for large aquatic systems: a global comparison Spatial and temporal variation in distribution of larval lake whitefish in eastern Lake Ontario: signs of recovery? Long-term decline in freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) of the western basin of Lake Erie Notable decomposition products of senescing Lake Michigan <i>Cladophora glomerata</i> Long-term decline in freshwater mussels (Bivalvia: Unionidae) of the western basin of Lake Erie Long-term trends in the St. Marys River open water fish community Spatial and temporal variation in distribution of larval lake whitefish in eastern Lake Ontario: signs of recovery? Notable decomposition products of senescing Lake Michigan <i>Cladophora glomerata</i> Metrics of ecosystem status for large aquatic systems: a global comparison