Acoustic telemetry reveals large-scale migration patterns of walleye in Lake Huron.
ABSTRACT: Fish migration in large freshwater lacustrine systems such as the Laurentian Great Lakes is not well understood. The walleye (Sander vitreus) is an economically and ecologically important native fish species throughout the Great Lakes. In Lake Huron walleye has recently undergone a population expansion as a result of recovery of the primary stock, stemming from changing food web dynamics. During 2011 and 2012, we used acoustic telemetry to document the timing and spatial scale of walleye migration in Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay. Spawning walleye (n = 199) collected from a tributary of Saginaw Bay were implanted with acoustic tags and their migrations were documented using acoustic receivers (n = 140) deployed throughout U.S. nearshore waters of Lake Huron. Three migration pathways were described using multistate mark-recapture models. Models were evaluated using the Akaike Information Criterion. Fish sex did not influence migratory behavior but did affect migration rate and walleye were detected on all acoustic receiver lines. Most (95%) tagged fish migrated downstream from the riverine tagging and release location to Saginaw Bay, and 37% of these fish emigrated from Saginaw Bay into Lake Huron. Remarkably, 8% of walleye that emigrated from Saginaw Bay were detected at the acoustic receiver line located farthest from the release location more than 350 km away. Most (64%) walleye returned to the Saginaw River in 2012, presumably for spawning. Our findings reveal that fish from this stock use virtually the entirety of U.S. nearshore waters of Lake Huron.
Project description:Bighead carp H. nobilis and silver carp Hypothalmichthys molitrix (collectively bigheaded carps, BHC) are invasive planktivorous fishes that threaten to enter the Laurentian Great Lakes and disrupt food webs. To assess the likelihood of BHC establishment and their likely effects on the food web of Saginaw Bay, Lake Huron, we developed a multi-species individual-based bioenergetics model that tracks individual bighead and silver carp, four key fish species, and seven prey biomass groups over 50 years. The model tracks the daily consumption, mortality and growth of all individuals and the biomass dynamics of interacting prey pools. We ran simulation scenarios to determine the likelihood of BHC establishment under initial introductions from 5 to 1 million yearling and older individuals, and assuming variable age-0 carp survival rates (high, intermediate, and low). We bounded the survival of age-0 BHC as recruitment continues to be one of the biggest unknowns. We also simulated the potential effects of an established population of 1 million bighead carp or silver carp assuming variation in age-0 survival. Results indicated that as few as 10 BHC could establish a population assuming high or intermediate age-0 survival, but at least 100,000 individuals were needed to establish a population assuming low age-0 survival. BHC had negative effects on plankton and planktivorous fish biomass, which increased with BHC density. However, piscivorous walleye Sander vitreus appeared to benefit from BHC establishment. The potential for BHC to establish and affect ecologically and economically important fish species in Saginaw Bay is a cause for concern.
Project description:Clostridium botulinum type E toxin is responsible for extensive mortality of birds and fish in the Great Lakes. The C. botulinum bontE gene that produces the type E toxin was amplified with quantitative PCR from 150 sloughed algal samples (primarily Cladophora species) collected during summer 2012 from 10 Great Lakes beaches in five states; concurrently, 74 sediment and 37 water samples from four sites were also analyzed. The bontE gene concentration in algae was significantly higher than in water and sediment (P < 0.05), suggesting that algal mats provide a better microenvironment for C. botulinum. The bontE gene was detected most frequently in algae at Jeorse Park and Portage Lake Front beaches (Lake Michigan) and Bay City State Recreation Area beach on Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron), where 77, 100, and 83% of these algal samples contained the bontE gene, respectively. The highest concentration of bontE was detected at Bay City (1.98 × 10(5) gene copies/ml of algae or 5.21 × 10(6) g [dry weight]). This study revealed that the bontE gene is abundant in the Great Lakes but that it has spatial, temporal, and matrix variability. Further, embayed beaches, low wave height, low wind velocity, and greater average water temperature enhance the bontE occurrence.
Project description:Using Dual-Frequency Identification Sonar (DIDSON), fishery acoustic observation data was collected from the Ocqueoc River, a tributary of Lake Huron in northern Michigan, USA. Data were collected March through July 2013 and 2016 and included the identification, via technology or expert analysis, of eight fish species as they passed through the DIDSON's field of view. A set of short DIDSON clips containing identified fish was curated. Additionally, two other datasets were created that include visualizations of the acoustic data and longer DIDSON clips. These datasets could complement future research characterizing the abundance and behavior of valued fishes such as walleye (Sander vitreus) or white sucker (Catostomus commersonii) or invasive fishes such as sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) or European carp (Cyprinus carpio). Given the abundance of DIDSON data and the fact that a portion of it is labeled, these data could aid in the creation of machine learning tools from DIDSON data, particularly for invasive sea lamprey which are amply represented and a destructive invader of the Laurentian Great Lakes.
Project description:To determine gene expression differences in the olfactory epithelium of sea lamprey between sequential yet behaviorally distinct adult life history stages Overall design: 2 samples: parasitic adults removed from fish in northern Lake Huron and Lake Michigan in February and March, and reproductive adults collected from Lake Huron and Lake Michigan tributaries in June
Project description:To determine gene expression differences in the olfactory epithelium of sea lamprey between sequential yet behaviorally distinct adult life history stages 2 samples: parasitic adults removed from fish in northern Lake Huron and Lake Michigan in February and March, and reproductive adults collected from Lake Huron and Lake Michigan tributaries in June
Project description:With the global-scale loss of biodiversity, current restoration programs have been often required as part of conservation plans for species richness and ecosystem integrity. The restoration of pelagic-oriented cisco (Coregonus artedi) has been an interest of Lake Michigan managers because it may increase the diversity and resilience of the fish assemblages and conserve the integrity of the ecosystems in a changing environment. To inform restoration, we described historical habitat use of cisco by analyzing a unique fishery-independent dataset collected in 1930-1932 by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries' first research vessel Fulmar and a commercial catch dataset reported by the State of Michigan in the same period, both based on gear fished on the bottom. Our results confirmed that the two major embayments, Green Bay and Grand Traverse Bay, were important habitats for cisco and suggest that the Bays were capable of supporting cisco to complete its entire life cycle in the early 20th century as there was no lack of summer feeding and fall spawning habitats. Seasonally, our results showed that cisco stayed in nearshore waters in spring, migrated to offshore waters in summer, and then migrated back to nearshore waters in fall. The results also suggest that in summer, most ciscoes were in waters with bottom depths of 20-70 m, but the highest cisco density occurred in waters with a bottom depth around 40 m. We highlight the importance of embayment habitats to cisco restoration and the seasonal migration pattern of cisco identified in this study, which suggests that a restored cisco population can diversify the food web by occupying different habitats from the exotic fishes that now dominate the pelagic waters of Lake Michigan.
Project description:Reduced representation (RRL) sequencing approaches (e.g., RADSeq, genotyping by sequencing) require decisions about how much to invest in genome coverage and sequencing depth, as well as choices of values for adjustable bioinformatics parameters. To empirically explore the importance of these "simple" methodological decisions, we generated two independent sequencing libraries for the same 142 individual lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) using a nextRAD RRL approach: (1) a larger number of loci at low sequencing depth based on a 9mer (library A); and (2) fewer loci at higher sequencing depth based on a 10mer (library B). The fish were selected from populations with different levels of expected genetic subdivision. Each library was analyzed using the STACKS pipeline followed by three types of population structure assessment (FST, DAPC and ADMIXTURE) with iterative increases in the stringency of sequencing depth and missing data requirements, as well as more specific a priori population maps. Library B was always able to resolve strong population differentiation in all three types of assessment regardless of the selected parameters, largely due to retention of more loci in analyses. In contrast, library A produced more variable results; increasing the minimum sequencing depth threshold (-m) resulted in a reduced number of retained loci, and therefore lost resolution at high -m values for FST and ADMIXTURE, but not DAPC. When detecting fine population differentiation, the population map influenced the number of loci and missing data, which generated artefacts in all downstream analyses tested. Similarly, when examining fine scale population subdivision, library B was robust to changing parameters but library A lost resolution depending on the parameter set. We used library B to examine actual subdivision in our study populations. All three types of analysis found complete subdivision among populations in Lake Huron, ON and Dore Lake, SK, Canada using 10,640 SNP loci. Weak population subdivision was detected in Lake Huron with fish from sites in the north-west, Search Bay, North Point and Hammond Bay, showing slight differentiation. Overall, we show that apparently simple decisions about library construction and bioinformatics parameters can have important impacts on the interpretation of population subdivision. Although potentially more costly on a per-locus basis, early investment in striking a balance between the number of loci and sequencing effort is well worth the reduced genomic coverage for population genetics studies. More conservative stringency settings on STACKS parameters lead to a final dataset that was more consistent and robust when examining both weak and strong population differentiation. Overall, we recommend that researchers approach "simple" methodological decisions with caution, especially when working on non-model species for the first time.
Project description:Neogobius melanostomus, the round goby, was recorded by underwater video feeding on crushed dreissenid mussels at a depth of 12 m in Georgian Bay of Lake Huron, a Laurentian Great Lake. In the video, gobies used rotational or twist feeding to tear away particles from crushed mussels. At least 43 examples of this feeding maneuver occur in the video. Up to 120 gobies m-2 were visible at a time in the video. Mean standard length of gobies appearing in the video was 37 mm. Mean standard length of fish exhibiting twist feeding was larger, 48 mm. Mean size of intact mussels in visible clusters was about 10×20 mm, a size which exceeds the gape width of the largest gobies observed in the video. Neogobius melanostomus is known to use twisting to wrest small attached mussels from the substrates which can be crushed by their pharyngeal teeth. I surmise that the behavior observed in the video is an opportunistic manifestation of this inherent behavioral adaptation to overcome gap limitation and exploit a temporary windfall of food.
Project description:Maintenance of genetic and phenotypic diversity is widely recognized as an important conservation priority, yet managers often lack basic information about spatial patterns of population structure and its relationship with habitat heterogeneity and species movement within it. To address this knowledge gap, we focused on the economically and ecologically prominent yellow perch (Perca flavescens). In the Lake Michigan basin, yellow perch reside in nearshore Lake Michigan, including drowned river mouths (DRMs)-protected, lake-like habitats that link tributaries to Lake Michigan. The goal of this study was to examine the extent that population structure is associated with Great Lakes connected habitats (i.e., DRMs) in a mobile fish species using yellow perch as a model. Specifically, we tested whether DRMs and eastern Lake Michigan constitute distinct genetic stocks of yellow perch, and if so, whether those stocks migrate between the two connected habitats throughout the year. To do so, we genotyped yellow perch at 14 microsatellite loci collected from 10 DRMs in both deep and littoral habitats during spring, summer, and autumn and two nearshore sites in Lake Michigan (spring and autumn) during 2015-2016 and supplemented our sampling with fish collected in 2013. We found that yellow perch from littoral-DRM habitats were genetically distinct from fish captured in nearshore Lake Michigan. Our data also suggested that Lake Michigan yellow perch likely use deep-DRM habitats during autumn. Further, we found genetic structuring among DRMs. These patterns support hypotheses of fishery managers that yellow perch seasonally migrate to and from Lake Michigan, yet, interestingly, these fish do not appear to interbreed with littoral fish despite occupying the same DRM. We recommend that fisheries managers account for this complex population structure and movement when setting fishing regulations and assessing the effects of harvest in Lake Michigan.
Project description:The establishment and spread of aquatic invasive species are ecologically and economically harmful and a source of conservation concern internationally. Processes of species invasion have traditionally been inferred from observational data of species presence/absence and relative abundance. However, genetic-based approaches can provide valuable sources of inference. Restriction site-associated DNA sequencing was used to identify and genotype single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) loci for Round Gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) (N = 440) from 18 sampling locations in the Great Lakes and in three Michigan, USA, drainages (Flint, Au Sable, and Cheboygan River basins). Sampled rivers differed in size, accessibility, and physical characteristics including man-made dispersal barriers. Population levels of genetic diversity and interpopulation variance in SNP allele frequency were used in coalescence-based approximate Bayesian computation (ABC) to statistically compare models representing competing hypotheses regarding source population, postcolonization dispersal, and demographic history in the Great Lakes and inland waters. Results indicate different patterns of colonization across the three drainages. In the Flint River, models indicate a strong population bottleneck (<3% of contemporary effective population size) and a single founding event from Saginaw Bay led to the colonization of inland river segments. In the Au Sable River, analyses could not distinguish potential source populations, but supported models indicated multiple introductions from one source population. In the Cheboygan River, supported models indicated that colonization likely proceeded from east (Lake Huron source) to west among inland locales sampled in the system. Despite the recent occupancy of Great Lakes and inland habitats, large numbers of loci analyzed in an ABC framework enable statistically supported identification of source populations and reconstruction of the direction of inland spread and demographic history following establishment. Information from analyses can direct management actions to limit the spread of invasive species from identified sources and most probable vectors into additional inland aquatic habitats.