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2017 Best Booth Award Winner - Wildlife Acoustics
2016 Poster Abstracts
The following poster abstracts are from the 2016 conference.
Posters are organized by topic, in 4 categories: Please note: poster abstracts are subject to change (as of January 21, 2016); please check back for updates.
Human Dimensions, Outreach, Public Engagement
Climate Change Implications On Rural Land Management and The Associated Vegetation and Bird Communities
Topic: General - Human Dimensions, Outreach, Public Engagement
Authors: Wesley Buchheit*, Charles Nilon, Robert Pierce – University of Missouri-Columbia
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Changes in climate are likely to result in changes in land management and have the potential to affect bird populations. As part of the Missouri EPSCoR project we are studying the relationship between birds and bird habitats and landowner attitudes towards changing land management practices as a result of climate change. Our study is in Scott County, MO, an agriculturally dominated landscape interspersed with small communities. In this poster we present the result of the first year of our study. We conducted bird counts and vegetation / habitat surveys at 46 points in Scott County and sent a mail survey to landowners to determine their views on their current land management practices. The results will illustrate how land management decisions are made and how land-use affects the biotic community in these locations.
Tags: Avian, Climate, Habitat, Human Dimensions, Management
Michigan Hunter Education Instructors’ Attitudes, Beliefs, and Knowledge Toward Environmental and Ecological Systems
Topic: General - Human Dimensions, Outreach, Public Engagement
Authors: Michael W. Everett*, Michigan State University; Matt R. Raven, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Societal and management pressures of the 21st century are pressing natural resource departments to adapt to ensure the long-term viability of wildlife and wildlife management for future populations. Michigan’s abundant natural resource base positions wildlife management to be a major contributor to the economic revival of the state and remains a critical part of the states economy, tourism industry, and culture. Michigan has gained an elite reputation as a national leader for abundant hunting opportunities. While the necessary skill-sets and knowledge are changing for new hunters, little research exists on Michigan Hunter Education Instructors and their beliefs and knowledge about the environment and ecosystems as it relates to educating future hunters. The purpose of this study was to establish baseline attitudes, beliefs, and knowledge of environmental and ecological paradigms among a subset of Michigan Hunter Education (MHE) instructors. A census of 2015 Michigan Hunter Education Instructor Academy attendees was conducted. The average age of the respondents (N = 51) for this study was 51.8 (SD – 15.3). The average age of males in this study was 53.4 (SD – 15.1), whereas the average age of female respondents was 42.0 (SD – 13.8). Of the 51 respondents, 13.7% of the population was female. The survey measured demographics and MHE instructor ecological paradigm as defined by the New Ecological Paradigm (NEP) at the 2015 Michigan Hunter Education Academy. Overall, MHE instructors held an anthropocentric worldview with a mean NEP score of 49.1 (SD – 15.3) with females having a slightly higher NEP score (M = 50.6, SD – 15.9) than their male counterparts (M = 48.9, SD = 10.2). Strong correlations existed between MHE instructor NEP scores and Scale Items including: 1) Reality of limits to growth (r = .726); 2) Possibility of eco-crisis (r = .737); and 3) Fragility of nature’s balance (r = .725).
Tags: Human Dimensions, Hunting, Management
The Use of Propidium Monoazide and Qpcr To Differentiate Live and Dead E. Coli Cells On Beaches
Topic: General - Human Dimensions, Outreach, Public Engagement
Authors: Benjamin Giffin, GVSU; Charlyn Partridge, GVSU
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: To prevent illness, public health departments regularly test public beaches for high levels of E. coli and other bacteria. Current testing methods utilize culturing techniques, where bacteria are grown in a lab, which takes at least 24 hours. However, this means that detection of high bacterial levels will have occurred after individuals have been exposed and, thus, a more rapid test is desirable. Quantitative polymerase chain reaction (q-PCR) offers a rapid method for quantifying the amount of Eschericha coli DNA on beaches. However, what q-PCR offers in rapidity, it lacks in accuracy. This is due to the fact that q-PCR will detect and quantify the DNA, even after E. coli cells are no longer viable. Thus a new method must be developed to differentiate viable and non-viable cells during qPCR analysis. One method that has been used to examine viable verses non-viable E. coli cells is the addition of propidium monoazide (PMA) prior to qPCR analysis. PMA can enter dead cells through damaged membranes, but not live cells, and bind to the DNA preventing amplification during qPCR analysis. In this study we will examine the efficacy of PMA treatment for cells that have been killed with (1) UV light, (2) heating, and (3) chlorine. This is the first step to evaluate whether this method can be utilized to quantify the presence of live bacteria of environmental samples from various beaches and pools in the Muskegon county region. Keeping our beaches safe for recreational purposes is of great importance. Utilizing rapid tests for E. coli ensures that beach warnings can be put in place within a reasonable time frame to significantly lower public exposure and the likelihood of illness.
Tags: Human Dimensions, Genetics, Diseases/Parasites
(CANCELLED) Citizen Science and Swift Foxes: Engaging Students and Landowners in Rare Species Conservation
Topic: General - Human Dimensions, Outreach, Public Engagement
Authors: Michelle L. Lute*, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unityl; Lucia Corral, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Jenny M. Dauer, University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Joseph J. Fontaine, Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Citizen Reporting of Wildlife Disease Outbreaks
Topic: General - Human Dimensions, Outreach, Public Engagement
Authors: Caitlin N. Ott-Conn*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Tyler R. Petroelje, Mississippi State University; Thomas M. Cooley, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Julie R. Melotti, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: We analyzed the Michigan Department of Natural Resource (DNR) Online Diseased Wildlife Reporting database of sick or dead wildlife observations submitted by the public to estimate disease rates found in publicly submitted cases. Public submissions between October 1, 2012 and September 30, 2015 totaled 3,867. We linked 15 carcasses, submitted for examination between August 1, 2014 and August 31, 2015, to an online public submission. During this same study period, the DNR wildlife division published 537 press releases, of which 10 described wildlife diseases. We found a strong negative correlation between days since press release and number of online submissions (P< 0.01) and confirmed 27% of the publicly submitted carcasses to have one of the diseases mentioned in the press releases indicating that press releases increase public awareness of wildlife disease issues. Continued work with citizen reporting may help to identify wildlife disease outbreaks earlier. Public education of wildlife diseases can increase public submissions of diseased wildlife, as seen with increases in reporting following a division press release on disease. Using public submissions and public education about wildlife disease, state agencies can conduct a broader and more intensive survey than is manageable by employees alone.
Tags: Diseases/Parasites, Human Dimensions, Outreach/Communication
An Information Exchange For Wildlife in Fire-Dependent Ecosystems of The Northern Lake States
Topic: General - Human Dimensions, Outreach, Public Engagement
Authors: Shelby A. Weiss*, The Ohio State University; R. Gregory Corace, III, Seney National Wildlife Refuge; Lindsey M. Shartell, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Dawn S. Marsh, Seney National Wildlife Refuge; Eric L. Toman, The Ohio State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: In the northern Lake States, a recent gap analysis of peer-reviewed literature has shown that our knowledge of the interactions among disturbances, vegetation, and wildlife in fire-dependent ecosystems is generally lacking. Some wildlife species may themselves be considered fire-dependent if their regional distribution and abundances were historically (or are currently) linked with fire-dependent ecosystems. Starting in 2013, the Lake States Fire Science Consortium (LSFSC) began an effort to identify what wildlife species should be considered fire-dependent. Our working list of 70 species includes 40 bird, 15 mammal, and 15 reptile species associated with 20 fire-dependent ecosystem types in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. To investigate how these species are prioritized for management in the region, their conservation status, game status, and other designations were noted. Additionally, how they and their habitats were addressed in state wildlife action plans was evaluated. We present some of these results and maps showing diversity across space and ownership types for the different taxa. Despite their reliance on fire-dependent ecosystems, our findings suggest that few wildlife species or their primary associated ecosystem types are thought of by wildlife professionals as being fire-dependent, presenting a challenge for future management. Our ongoing efforts will continue to integrate awareness, comprehension, and commitment as it pertains to our fire-dependent wildlife communities in the northern Lake States.
Tags: Forest, Human Dimensions, Landscape Ecology, Outreach/Communication, Threatened and Endangered Species
Wildlife
Wildlife Conservation Strategies in Aser Region Southwestern Saudi Arabia
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Dr. Abdulaziz R Al-Qahtani, University of Bisha (UOB)
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: In 1978, Saudi Arabia had begun setting aside land for protection of natural habitats, flora, and /or fauna. Currently, the National Commission for Wildlife Conservation and Development (NCWCD) manages more than 15 protected areas, that encompass more than 90,000 square kilometers. In the southwestern part of the Kingdome, highlands reach about 3,000 m and include parts of the Asir Mountains which tilts from west to east. In west, a steep escarpment drops to the Tehama plain on the Red Sea Coast together with a less slope towards the internal plains of east and north of Aser region. The southwestern ecoregion supports a huge number of species. It was described by many researchers as a noteworthy for their floristic richness and diversity. This ecoregion, together with Tehama plains, is home to the majority of southwest Arabian endemic species. This presentation spots the light on the most comprehensive plans applied in Asir region, southwestern of Saudi Arabia to protect the wildlife, maintain the protected areas, and guarantee the suitable use of the existing resources.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Habitat, Ecology, Wildlife Techniques, Threatened and Endangered Species
Updating The National Wetland Inventory For Minnesota
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Kristin Bahleda*, Robb Macleod – Ducks Unlimited
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) is a fish and wildlife program started in the 1970s to inventory and map all wetlands, primarily for scientific purposes. Ducks Unlimited has been working on the inventory since 2005 in the Great Lakes Region. They have worked on NWI data for the states of MI., IN., OH., and IL. Ducks Unlimited is currently working on data for the state of MN. Updating the data allows for the tracking of converted and active wetlands and will continue to be helpful for the future in determining an accurate representation of wetland location and conservation planning.
Tags: Wetland, Habitat, Landscape Ecology, Ecology
Restoring The Calumet Region's Wetlands For Marsh Birds
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Nathaniel Miller, Caleb Putnam, Thomas Barnes – Audubon Chicago Region; Gary Sullivan, The Wetlands Initiative; Byron Tsang, Chicago Park District
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The Calumet Region, which is the historic watershed of the Grand and Little Calumet Rivers in Northwest Indiana and Northeast Illinois, has seen heavy anthropogenic disturbance through industrialization, sand mining, agriculture, and hydrologic engineering. The fragmented, highly degraded patches left behind are a stark contrast to the once rich wetland complex that as recently as 20 years ago supported hundreds of pairs of nesting marsh birds. This poster will display how and why Audubon Chicago Region (ACR) have organized a project working group consisting of The Field Museum, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and The Wetlands Initiative in order to improve habitat for viable populations of threatened breeding birds and the overall quality of the Calumet wetland system. Despite the challenges the Calumet region has faced, its remnant preserves contain the original ridge and swale topography, and smaller constructed lakes and remnants of the two larger lakes still harbor some of the most unique plant and animal communities in northeastern Illinois. Over the last 10 years however, changes to the hydrology and habitat condition have led to a decline in suitable habitat for marsh dependent bird species. Through a comprehensive assessment of the spatial distribution and size of habitat remnants, and by determining the suitability and sustainability of wetland habitat across the region, ACR is creating a practical decision tool that will assist landowners in focusing resources and attention to these critically imperiled habitats, particularly with the goal of informing restoration of hemi-marsh habitat for species of concern, and answering key management questions for these birds that can sustain their populations into the future.
Tags: Avian, Exotic/Invasive Species, Great Lakes, Wetland, Restoration/Enhancement
Work Smarter, Not Harder: Comparison of Visual and Supplemental Survey Methods for the Eastern Massasauga Rattlesnake
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Jeffrey F. Bartman*, Nathan Kudla, Danielle Bradke, Jennifer A. Moore – Grand Valley State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Monitoring programs of rare and endangered species are of greatest conservation need. Herpetofuana are a taxa characterized by low detection rates and require the best survey methods for effective monitoring. The eastern massasauga rattlesnake is declining in every state or province that it is found and would benefit from better survey techniques. In the past, studies concerned with population demography have relied on intensive visual mark-recapture survey methods. Other common snake capture techniques have seen little use in eastern massasauga rattlesnake population studies. We explored the effectiveness of using artificial cover objects and funnel traps in supplementing visual survey methods. Funnel traps were about 3 times as efficient as visual surveys (p = 0.0009), and when capturing only males were about 4 times as efficient (p = 0.0036). Wooden coverboards were about twice as efficient as visual surveys when capturing females (p = 0.0286). In addition to massasauga surveys: carpets, coverboards, and funnel traps were more efficient at assessing the diversity of a site (p = 0.0019, 0.0011, 0.0002 respectively). We suggest the use of these supplemental techniques would provide for more robust data sets that will yield more powerful results.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Management, Survey Methods, Threatened and Endangered Species, Wetland
Vertical Distribution of Arthropods At Two Heights in a Hardwood Forest Canopy
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Nathan Bowman, University of Rio Grande
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Forest canopies are one of the richest yet most poorly understood habitats in the Earth's biosphere due to the challenges in accessing and sampling the vertical portion of the forest. I studied the diversity of arthropod communities at two heights in white oak Quercus alba and red maple Acer rubra trees in a hardwood forest in southeastern Ohio. From 28 March to 9 May 2014 I collected arthropods using Lindgren funnel traps placed in the canopy (12 meters) and the understory (6 meters) of 20 trees (10 white oak and 10 red maple). This required the use of single rope techniques to climb trees to position and monitor both understory and canopy traps. I collected a total of 1,908 individuals representing 7 orders. Understory traps yielded a significantly higher number of individuals than canopy traps (t= 0.3938, p = 0.05) Temperature was highly positively correlated with abundance on a weekly basis (r = 0.7264). My findings provide important baseline information on forest canopy biodiversity and can shed light on the possible impacts of forest management on this arthropod community.
Tags: Forest, Invertebrate, Survey Methods, Ecology, Climate
(CANCELLED) Evaluating Patterns in Carnivore Richness and Detectability Using Remote Camera Surveys in Wisconsin
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: John Clare, University of Wisconsin; Phil Townsend, University of Wisconsin; Ben Zuckerberg, University of Wisconsin; Jen Stenglein, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Tim Van Deelen, University of Wisconsin
Comparisons of Dispersal and Excursion Events Between Localized Populations of Urban and Rural White-Tailed Deer Odocoileus Virginianus
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Garrett B. Clevinger, Jonathan K. Trudeau, Timothy C. Carter – Ball State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: In recent years, the movement patterns of urbanized populations of white-tailed deer (WTD) have become a major area of interest to both academic and professional wildlife organizations. Although a handful of studies have focused on the dispersal and temporary excursion events of either the urban or rural populations of this species, few if any have ever compared these parameters between both populations on a localized scale. By understanding the extent of seasonal movement between urban and rural populations of WTD within the same general area, wildlife biologists and other stakeholders gain valuable information in which to basis management decisions for the benefit of both the herd and the impacted citizens. This study was conducted in three counties in southern Indiana: Morgan, Monroe, and Brown; with our urban study area being the city of Bloomington, Indiana. WTD were captured using dropnets or free-darted from a distance. WTD were then equipped with GPS or VHF collars and monitored using radio or satellite telemetry to obtain location data. From April-July 2015 a total of 21 WTD was captured consisting of 16 urban individuals and 5 rural individuals. Preliminary observations indicate an increase in average distance traveled (3.45 km) from home ranges of rural WTD as opposed to that of urban WTD (1.50 km). Our data also shows individuals traveling across multiple subsets of urbanity, which may suggest that the localized population is operating as an open population.
Tags: Mammal, Population Dynamics, Management, Landscape Ecology
Immobilization of Free Ranging Populations Urban and Rural White-Tailed Deer Odocoileus Virginianus Using Butorphanol-Azaperone-Medetomidine (Bam)
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Garrett B. Clevinger*, Ball State University; Jonathan K. Trudeau*, Ball State University; Caleb Haymes, University of Kentucky; Joseph McDermott; University of Kentucky; John J. Cox, University of Kentucky; Timothy C. Carter, Ball State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Incorporating protocols that promote the safe capture and handling of animals is a critical component of wildlife research. The ideal immobilizing agent used for wildlife capture should: 1.) Promptly induce a safe anesthetic plane that enables handlers to process animals in a timely manner and (2.) Allow handlers to quickly and easily reverse the effects of anesthesia at any point within the workup process. These characteristics are crucial when conducting research that involves the capture and immobilization of free-ranging wildlife populations, such as White-tailed deer, which thrive in both urban and rural landscapes. Butorphanol-Azaperone-Medetomidine (BAM) is a relatively new drug compound exclusively designed for cervid immobilization. However, its efficacy in free-ranging deer populations has only been assessed by a handful of researchers since the late 2000’s. Between January and July of 2014 and 2015, 115 deer were captured and immobilized from two study areas in southeastern Kentucky (n=94) and southern Indiana (n=22). Deer were captured using dropnets (n=78), clover traps (n=28), and dart projectors (n=10). All were injected with an initial dose of 1-2 cc of BAM in the shoulder or hindquarter. Preliminary observations indicate an average total induction time of 9.1 minutes and average total recovery time of 6.3 minutes. These observations are concurrent with previous research involving BAM. Compared to other available agents, BAM was superior in both induction and recovery times. However, the greatest benefit of using BAM was the complete and rapid reversibility of the agent on demand. Our observations support the use of BAM as a highly effective immobilizing agent for white-tailed deer capture.
Tags: Mammal, Wildlife Techniques
Roosting Habits of the Eastern Small-Footed Bat in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Kristi A. Confortin, Timothy Carter – Ball State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The eastern small-footed bat Myotis leibii is a unique species. Unlike many other Myotis species, the eastern small-footed bat primarily uses upland habitats. The spread of White Nose Syndrome has made it more crucial to understand the species distribution across the landscape. Recently a population of this species was discovered in the Shawnee National Forest in Southern Illinois. Over the last few years limited work has been done to document the presence and basic roosting habits for this population. Because of the limited distribution and perceived low numbers, the eastern small-footed bat was added to the Illinois Threatened Species List in spring 2015. The US Forest Service wants a better understanding of the summer roosting ecology and how it might impact future management decisions. During the summer of 2015 we examined the roosting habits of the eastern small-footed bats on the Shawnee National Forest. Based on previous work, we predicted that bats would be found primarily under loose rocks on rocky outcrops within the forest. During the summer of 2015, 7 females and 11 males were fitted with radio transmitters and tracked to their day roosts. Bats were tracked for a total of 162 bat days. Characteristics were recorded for all 64 roosts that were located. Preliminary results show that eastern small-footed bats use a diversity of roosts beyond loose rocks. This species also made use of rock cervices, cliff bluffs, and man-made structures as their day roosts. The proportion of time each roost was used differed by roost type. We were also able to document the differences in daily travel distances between roost types and genders.
Tags: Mammal, Ecology, Habitat, Management, Threatened and Endangered Species
Measuring The Impact of Contour Buffer Strips On Grassland Birds
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Julia Dale*, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Matt Stephenson, NREM, ISU; Lisa Schulte-Moore, NREM, ISU; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The agricultural landscape of the Midwestern United States provides substantial economic and resource benefits for rural communities. However, soil loss and nutrient runoff associated with corn and soybean systems pose long term challenges for farmland productivity and water quality. Strategic placement of perennial cover into agricultural landscapes can significantly reduce soil and nutrient export from fields. The impact of these perennial systems on birds is less well-documented, though narrow grassy features in general have been found to provide little if any benefit to birds. In order to estimate the effect of strategically integrated perennial cover in Iowa’s agricultural landscape, we selected 43 agricultural fields across Iowa on which to measure bird diversity and occupancy. These fields contained various conservation practices including contour buffer strips of varying diversity (n = 15), terraces (n = 7), grassed waterways or grassy field edges (n=14), and larger blocks of grassland (n=7). We deployed an autonomous recording unit (ARU) in each of these fields to record bird song for one hour each morning year round. On 11 of our study farms, we also conducted bird point counts three times from May through August. Point counts were conducted only in fields with contour buffer strips, grassed waterways, or grassy field edges. We observed 60 species of birds, with the most common being red-winged blackbird (28% of total observations), dickcissel (8.5%), eastern meadowlark (5.3%), American robin (5%), killdeer (5%), and common yellowthroat (4%). Bird point counts will be conducted again in the summer of 2016, while audio recordings will continue year round.
Tags: Avian, Landscape Ecology, Habitat, Grassland, Wildlife Techniques
Plant Establishment and Attractiveness of Four Prairie Seed Mixes To Honey Bees and Native Pollinators During Early Stand Development
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Nathan W. Dalman*, University of Minnesota, Morris; Zach M. Smith, University of Minnesota, Morris; Matthew D. Thom, USDA Agricultural Research Service NCSCRL; Margaret A. Kuchenreuther, University of Minnesota, Morris
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: In Minnesota less than 2% of original native prairie remains, having largely been converted to row crops such as corn and soybeans. These crops provide few resources for pollinators, so recently farmers have been encouraged to establish pollinator plantings that emulate native prairie. This study evaluates plantings of four mixes of native prairie forbs and grasses developed by the NRCS Bismarck Plant Materials Center with the ultimate goal of determining which mix is the most cost effective for attracting pollinators. It also documents pollinator diversity in our region and plant species attractiveness to different classes of pollinators. In spring 2014 two replicates of four pollinator mixes were planted: 100%, 75%, 50%, and 25% prairie forbs mixed with native grasses. Twice per week in summer 2015 we walked a transect through each stand to count insects and note the plant species they visited. We also collected and identified insect visitors. Once per week we walked each transect to count flowers of each species in bloom. In this early stage of establishment few native forb species flowered, and most stands contained large numbers of non-native flowers, though the proportion of natives to non-natives varied among treatments. Nonetheless, the stands attracted a wide variety of pollinators that often exhibited clear floral preferences. Honey bees and bumble bees strongly preferred non-native over native plants. In contrast, more small native bees visited stands with higher densities of native forbs, and more often visited natives over weeds. Treatments planted with a higher percentage of native forbs attracted the most pollinators overall, at least early in the season. Not surprisingly, pollinators made a higher proportion of visits to weeds in stands containing lower percentages of natives. However, as these stands mature more native species should come into bloom and their attractiveness to pollinators will likely change.
Tags: Invertebrate, Grassland, Restoration/Enhancement, Habitat, Behavior
Survival of Rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo Jamaicensis)
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Jacqueline Edmunds, Tim Van Deelen, Mark Berres; University of Wisconsin
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Wildlife rehabilitation is the practice of providing responsible care for sick, injured or orphaned wild animals so that they may ultimately be released into the environment as healthy and successful individuals. Post-release research regarding the survival rates, survivorship based on select veterinary procedures, changes in migration or breeding behavior, and costs associated with rehabilitation to the percent of patient mortality is inadequate, yet this data is crucial to assessing the utility of wildlife rehabilitation. Therefore, it is of significant interest to study the long-term effects of rehabilitative practices by using banding or tracking techniques to determine if the outcome of rehabilitation efforts is meaningful.

Birds of prey species such as Red-tailed Hawks are good scientific models to assess wildlife rehabilitation efforts because of their broad-scale geographic range, large population size, and ample banding data stored by the United States Geological Service Bird Banding Laboratory (BBL). Band recoveries of deceased 6,225 wild-caught and 1,138 rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawks from BBL were used in a comprehensive mark-recapture analysis to determine if survival rates of rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawks were significantly different from those in natural populations. Deceased band recoveries were reported between 1974 – 2013, and apparent survival rates were estimated by the Seber (1970) deceased recovery model in program MARK.

Preliminary results strongly suggest that the annual survival rates of rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawks is significantly lower than those that are wild-caught and banded. Furthermore, age-related survival estimates suggest that the rate of juvenile rehabilitated Red-tailed Hawk survival is significantly less than those of rehabilitated adults. Differences in seasonal survival corresponding to rehabilitated birds released in winter (January, February, or December) versus those released in spring, summer, or fall (March – November) of a given year suggests no difference in annual survival. This information can be used as a decisive measurement of rehabilitative success and is necessary towards future management decisions in the field of wildlife rehabilitation.
Tags: Avian, Survey Methods
Variation in Bee and Plant Communities Across Reconstructed Habitats in an Urban Park in St. Louis, Missouri
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Michael Farber*; University of Missouri, Charles Nilon; University of Missouri, Peter VanLinn; Forest Park Forever
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Habitat restorations within a city can be an important tool for conserving species residing in developed areas. Parks can be an ideal place for such restorations by providing both wildlife benefits as well as being aesthetically pleasing for park visitors. Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri, began their Nature Works program in 2014 which included a tallgrass prairie restoration project. In addition other restoration projects have been active in the park since the 1990’s. Our project has a goal of comparing differences between bee and plant communities between the traditionally managed turf grass sections and reconstructed sites. In addition we were interested in the differences between the two older reconstructed sites and the newly created one. We examined vegetation and bee communities in sections of Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri to see differences in how each site is used by bee assemblages and what resources they provide. We focused on three reconstructed sites of differing ages and three managed turf grass sites for sampling over the summer of 2015. Within the reconstructed sites we had one site that had only been planted the previous summer while the other two sites were older. We sampled vegetation communities multiple times over the summer and counted flower heads to provide an estimate of available floral resources. We sampled bee assemblages both through observation surveys and collection of individuals through bee bowls. We identified the collected bees down to at least genus. For genera that had existing keys we identified to species. We present an overview of the data collected during the first field season.
Tags: Invertebrate, Habitat
Sex Differentiation in the Growth of Spotted Turtles Clemmys Guttata
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Michael J. Dreslik; Christina Y. Feng* - Illinois Natural History Survey
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Understanding an organism’s growth pattern is essential for studies of a species’ ecology, life history, and demography. For many chelonians, size correlates strongly with the onset of sexual maturity and can be used to estimate the age at sexual maturity. We investigated organismal growth in an Illinois population of Spotted Turtles using long-term mark-recapture data collected from 1988-2015. We compiled the growth histories of 134 individuals with captures spanning 1-27 years for the size measurements of carapace length (CL) and plastron length (PL). We conducted a nonlinear regression analysis first to determine what growth functions best fit the data and then expanded the best-fit function to account for sex. For both CL and PL, the data best fit the Weibull growth function. When reparametrizing the function for sex, the top model parameters included sex-specific asymptotic size (A), growth rate (k), and slope of growth (m) parameters. For CL, there were an additional three competitive models that included the null model. For the top model, females had a slightly larger asymptotic adult CL (112.42 mm) and PL (103.05 mm) than did males (106.99 mm and 92.30 mm, respectively). This difference in PL is likely due to the necessity of tail articulation in males associated with copulation. Because growth differs among sexes, we calculated an ontogenetic SDI, which demonstrates a slight dimorphism (0.90 < SDI = 1.10) for CL and PL. We estimate the minimum age at sexual maturity for females to be 9.7-10.4 years based on a minimum CL of 91.5 mm and minimum PL of 83 mm in gravid females captured during the study.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Modeling, Threatened and Endangered Species
Bird-Window Collisions on a University Campus: Comparison of Migration Phenology and Collision Rates
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Sarah E. Fischer*, Ball State University; Kamal Islam, Ball State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Windows can be problematic for birds because of their reflectivity. Birds have difficulty detecting glass and often collide with windows. Though it is difficult to estimate numbers, these collisions may account for up to one billion avian mortalities in the U.S. each year. Many of the buildings on the Ball State University campus (Muncie, Indiana) can be fatally harmful to a diverse array of species. We are conducting ongoing research over a two-year period on the Ball State University campus to compare migration phenology, determine which species are most affected, and determine which windows are the most problematic. From August 2014 through November 2015, carcasses representing many species and families were collected during daily surveys. The results of this ongoing study will be presented. Though these data are preliminary and represent only 1 ½ years of the two-year study, collision rates were higher during fall migration compared to spring migration. Once our study is completed, we will use the results to recommend methods that can reduce collision rates at the most problematic “hotspots” on campus. Additionally, these data, as well as results from similar studies, can provide insight into recommendations for future architectural designs and window modifications that promote a bird-safe campus community.
Tags: Avian, Behavior, Human Dimensions
Digging Further Into Wolf-Deer Interactions: Food Web Effects On Forest Ecosystem Processes
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: David G. Flagel*, University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center Gary E. Belovsky, University of Notre Dame
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The negative impacts of herbivore consumption on plants are well known, but how herbivory affects ecosystem processes like nutrient cycling is not well studied. Herbivores can alter soil nutrient availability through herbivory and waste deposition. If predators significantly reduce herbivory, they will impact ecosystem processes. Gray wolves may regulate white-tailed deer herbivory in northern Great Lakes forests and this may impact soil nitrogen availability. Deer exclosure/control plots in high and low wolf use forest patches were employed to determine whether wolves and/or deer affect nitrogen availability. No effects could be identified on nitrogen availability, which suggests that ungulates and their predators do not impact soil nitrogen in this system.
Tags: Ecology, Forest, Mammal, Behavior, Threatened and Endangered Species
Survey of Invertebrates Near Piping Plover Nesting Sites
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Tom Flanagan*, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University Jason Garvon, Ph.D., School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Preservation of breeding habitat and careful monitoring of nesting sites has aided in the recovery of the endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover to a record 73 breeding pairs in 2015. While the required physical characteristics of breeding habitats, such as width of shoreline and substrate composition are well understood, the role of food abundance on nest site selection and nest success is poorly understood partly due to the nature of traditional invertebrate sampling techniques that may pose a danger to the plovers themselves. We created a passive invertebrate sampling technique to determine whether food abundance near Piping Plover nesting sites is greater than the abundance of food in seemingly similar, non-selected nesting sites. BioCams recorded invertebrates within 0.09m2 frames every two seconds for four hours at each of the four nesting locations (Grand Marais, Gulliver, Port Inland and Vermilion, MI). The BioCams were simultaneously placed near nests at both the shore and dune, and at least 300m away from active nests. While overall invertebrate abundance did not vary by location (p=0.161), of the three common orders (Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera), Dipterans were found to be the most abundant order recorded among nesting sites (p=0.035). While overall invertebrate abundance was not a primary factor in nest site selection for Piping Plovers, further study on specific orders may provide valuable information. Additionally, experimental BioCams were successful in their ability to identify invertebrates to taxonomic Order and estimate an abundance of available invertebrates without disturbing the plovers. The BioCams can be a useful tool for conducting a wide range of surveys.
Tags: Avian
Digging Further Into Wolf-Deer Interactions: Food Web Effects On Forest Ecosystem Processes
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: David G. Flagel*, University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center Gary E. Belovsky, University of Notre Dame
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The negative impacts of herbivore consumption on plants are well known, but how herbivory affects ecosystem processes like nutrient cycling is not well studied. Herbivores can alter soil nutrient availability through herbivory and waste deposition. If predators significantly reduce herbivory, they will impact ecosystem processes. Gray wolves may regulate white-tailed deer herbivory in northern Great Lakes forests and this may impact soil nitrogen availability. Deer exclosure/control plots in high and low wolf use forest patches were employed to determine whether wolves and/or deer affect nitrogen availability. No effects could be identified on nitrogen availability, which suggests that ungulates and their predators do not impact soil nitrogen in this system.
Tags: Ecology, Forest, Mammal, Behavior, Threatened and Endangered Species
Survey of Invertebrates Near Piping Plover Nesting Sites
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Tom Flanagan*, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University Jason Garvon, Ph.D., School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Preservation of breeding habitat and careful monitoring of nesting sites has aided in the recovery of the endangered Great Lakes Piping Plover to a record 73 breeding pairs in 2015. While the required physical characteristics of breeding habitats, such as width of shoreline and substrate composition are well understood, the role of food abundance on nest site selection and nest success is poorly understood partly due to the nature of traditional invertebrate sampling techniques that may pose a danger to the plovers themselves. We created a passive invertebrate sampling technique to determine whether food abundance near Piping Plover nesting sites is greater than the abundance of food in seemingly similar, non-selected nesting sites. BioCams recorded invertebrates within 0.09m2 frames every two seconds for four hours at each of the four nesting locations (Grand Marais, Gulliver, Port Inland and Vermilion, MI). The BioCams were simultaneously placed near nests at both the shore and dune, and at least 300m away from active nests. While overall invertebrate abundance did not vary by location (p=0.161), of the three common orders (Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera), Dipterans were found to be the most abundant order recorded among nesting sites (p=0.035). While overall invertebrate abundance was not a primary factor in nest site selection for Piping Plovers, further study on specific orders may provide valuable information. Additionally, experimental BioCams were successful in their ability to identify invertebrates to taxonomic Order and estimate an abundance of available invertebrates without disturbing the plovers. The BioCams can be a useful tool for conducting a wide range of surveys.
Tags: Avian
Wild Toledo Green Corridor Wildlife Monitoring
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Justin Grubb, Wild Toledo at the Toledo Zoo
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Wild Toledo has established an intricate web of trail camera traps in order to monitor animals that live in and move within the Green Ribbon Corridor, which ranges from Secor Metropark south to Maumee State Forest and through Oak Openings Preserve Metropark. This project helps determine the absence or presence of many animals, including bobcats, badgers, turkey, black bear, coyote, deer and mesopredators like raccoons, skunks and opossum. Wild Toledo biologists set the cameras throughout the Green Corridor near game trails and in areas with high reported activity, then return to those cameras weeks later to retrieve a small SD card that holds the images. Biologists then catalog the images and sort them by species and location. With the information collected, we can learn the dynamics of the environment and the movement of wildlife.
Tags: Behavior, Habitat, Ecology, Mammal, Wildlife Techniques
Effect of Group Size On Fear Response in Captive Fallow Deer Dama Dama
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Paige Hall*; John Roese
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The behavior of captive deer, particularly fallow deer Dama dama is a largely understudied field. Grouping in wild deer has often been observed as a defense/security response, so the objective of this study was to determine if captive deer exhibit a similar response. Practical application of this research could be utilized by those working with captive deer. To stimulate a fear reaction the deer were introduced to a novel stimulus both individually and in group sizes of up to twenty. Behavioral observations were focused on ten collared individuals, 8 females and 2 males. A few group behaviors, such as investigation of the stimulus, were also recorded. Preliminary analysis of the data suggests that on an individual basis the amount of time spent grouped with others is a function of group size. It also appears more investigation was done in groups of three to five, possibly indicating that fear reactions are minimized in groups of this size range.
Tags: Behavior, Mammal
A Collective Comparison of Methods For Estimating Ruffed Grouse Bonasa Umbellus Abundance Using Detection Probability
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Bryn Webber, UW-Stevens Point; Chase Gadbois, UW-Stevens Point; James Hansen*, UW-Stevens Point; Michelle Murawski, UW-Stevens Point; Jason Riddle, UW-Stevens Point
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Drumming surveys are commonly used by managers as a method of monitoring ruffed grouse Bonasa umbellus abundance, however detection probability is rarely accounted for. We conducted drumming surveys for ruffed grouse during the past two springs at the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point’s Treehaven property near Tomahawk, WI. For the first year, each point count consisted of four 2.5min intervals for a total of ten minutes, and each point was visited three times during the peak drumming season. To determine the probability of detection during our surveys, we compared two methods. Program MARK was used to analyze detection from individual grouse on separate survey days, and program Presence allowed us to analyze repeated visits, in which the number of grouse heard at each point is used as the frame of detection. These two methods of analysis used similar model sets, including environmental and time based variables. In our results we found the chances of hearing the grouse if they are on their log is 98.1%, but If you include the chance they are off their logs the chances of detection goes down to 35.7%. Based off the results from our first year, we made changes to our survey methods. These changes included using three 2.5 min intervals for a total of seven and a half minutes at each survey point, surveying a larger area, greater accuracy in environmental measurements, greater distance between points, and surveying for more days. Then we compared the results of both years with chance of detection and their top models.
Tags: Modeling, Population Dynamics, Survey Methods, Avian, Management
Amphibian Conservation (Centrolenidae) in Neotropical Cloud-Forest Streams Using Stable Isotopes To Measure Energy Subsidies
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Anna Harris*, Grand Valley State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Amphibians are declining globally and those in the tropics who rely on streams for breeding are suffering the most. This study focuses on one highly endangered family of frogs, Centrolenidae (common name: glass frogs), and their stream habitats located in the tropical montane cloud-forest of Reserva Las Gralarias in Mindo, Ecuador. The purpose of this study was to examine which neotropical stream characteristics influence glass frog abundance. Three low-order streams were used in this study: Kathy’s Creek (1st order), Lucy’s Creek (2nd order) and Río Santa Rosa (3rd order). Stream characteristics measured include physical and chemical parameters as well as macroinvertebrate diversity, richness, and abundance. Furthermore, stable isotope analyses were used examine the food web structure within each stream and quantify the energy leaving the stream via emerged aquatic insects, a potential food source of glass frogs whose diet is currently unknown. Additionally, aquatic insect emergence rate was measured weekly for two months on a neotropical headwater stream to quantify an emergence rate for these systems. Early results show the macroinvertebrate community of all study streams to be dominated by predators and to have very low abundances of shredders. Results from this study will provide information on the foodweb structure of neotropical headwater streams. Knowledge gained from these results will provide information on the habitats of glass frogs and lead to more effective conservation for this amphibian family. As glass frogs depend on neotropical systems, this study also emphasizes the importance of conserving these ecosystems.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, River/Stream, Habitat, Invertebrate, Threatened and Endangered Species
Identifying Habitat Suitability Requirements For An Afro-Montane Primate in Northern Ethiopia
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Julie C. Jarvey*, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment; Bobbi S. Low, University of Michigan School of Natural Resources and Environment; Jacinta C. Beehner, University of Michigan Department of Psychology and Department of Anthropology
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The effects of human encroachment and land use change pose many problems for wildlife. Understanding how these factors impact wildlife populations and are critical for finding effective management and conservation strategies. Species that inhabit mountainous regions are particularly impacted by these threats as human populations extend to higher elevations because sub-populations become isolated and habitat shrinks as ranges become restricted to mountain peaks. Gelada monkeys Theropithecus gelada, a graminivorous primate, endemic to the Ethiopian highlands represent a species under such threats. Geladas have a limited altitudinal range of suitable habitat (1700-4200 m), and much of their current habitat has been converted to agricultural and grazing land. We investigated gelada movement patterns, human disturbance, and food availability across the wet and dry seasons in the Simien Mountains National Park in Northern Ethiopia (2015-2016). The purpose of this study was to identify the key factors that influence seasonal ranging patterns and habitat use of geladas. This study highlights the importance of cover type diversity for seasonal food availability in gelada habitat. While grasslands are the most heavily used areas and generally have highest, most evenly distributed levels of grass availability. But, forested areas provide more green grass in the dry season compared to grasslands. Below-ground food resources are an important food resource in the dry season, when green grass availability is low. Below-ground food availability also plays an important role in seasonal ranging patterns that has been largely over-looked. The results from this study will help to establish reliable criteria for assessing gelada habitat suitability and help to inform future management decisions.
Tags: Mammal, Behavior, Ecology, Management, Human Dimensions
Effect of Incubation Investment On Fledging Rate of Piping Plovers
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Michelle Kane*, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University Jason Garvon, Ph.D., School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Piping plovers Charadrius melodus are an endangered species of shorebird that nests on open beaches. The Great Lakes population is especially small, containing just 73 nesting pairs in 2015, making success of each pair essential to recovery of the species. Currently, an understanding of how the contributions of each parent during incubation influence overall hatching and fledging success is unknown. We placed motion sensitive game cameras near nest exclosures at four beaches in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Grand Marais, Gulliver, Port Inland and Vermilion) to record incubation changes and determine time spent on the nest by each parent. Nest monitors then recorded number of eggs hatched, chick mortality, chicks fledged and departure date of adults. Overall, incubation was split by males and females 52% to 48%, respectively. Number of chicks fledged was dependent on male incubation (p value of 0.04198). This suggests that male investment during incubation could be an indicator of their investment in protecting chicks after hatching. Female departure date was not dependent on male incubation. It is possible that female departure date may be dependent on external factors, such as weather.
Tags: Avian, Threatened and Endangered Species
Density Dependent Effects On Conspecific Cue Use For Habitat Selection and Reproductive Success in Yellow Warblers Setophaga Petechia
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Janice Kelly*, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences; Michael Ward, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Studies on negative density dependent effects on habitat selection have revolutionized our understanding of how songbirds select habitat. Ideal free distribution, a classic and well-supported model on habitat selection, demonstrates a strong negative relationship between conspecific density and habitat quality that affects habitat selection and reproduction. This model is at direct odds with conspecific attraction, a phenomenon where individuals settle near members of their species when selecting habitat by use of conspecific cues. Research in avian systems indicates that songbirds use conspecific cues for habitat selection but also tend to follow ideal free distribution. Using playback experiments in 2014/2015, we demonstrated that the yellow warbler Setophaga petechia, a territorial songbird, uses conspecific cues to select breeding habitat, but may also experience negative density dependent effects on habitat selection in response to conspecific cues. Preliminary data from our research show that when experimental playbacks manipulate conspecific density to be high, yellow warblers treat the habitat as low quality by establishing larger territories, a pattern that commonly occurs in birds when actual habitat quality is low (e.g., less food or vegetation cover). Despite this negative density dependent effect, yellow warblers still cluster closer to high-density playbacks compared to low-density playbacks and silent controls. To date we conclude that both conspecific attraction and ideal free distribution occur in tandem during the habitat selection process, suggesting that both drivers are important to consider for conservation and management of avian populations.
Tags: Behavior, Avian, Ecology
Diet of Kit-Rearing Female Martens in Northern Michigan
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Angela Kujawa*, Paul Keenlance, Joseph Jacquot
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The American marten Martes americana is a small, slender-bodied, carnivorous mammal found throughout the northern portion of North America. Our study focused on the populations in the Manistee National Forest in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Food availability may be a large limiting factor to American marten populations due to their high metabolism and limited fat storage. This can be especially important for lactating females that may have up to five kits to sustain. Kit-rearing female martens were fitted with radio collars and radio telemetry was used to track them to den sites. Scat, prey remains and remotely-triggered cameras were used to identify diet components. We sought to obtain an understanding of reproducing female marten diets in order to inform managers wanting to maintain optimal marten habitat. We observed martens behaving as generalists, consuming many types of prey. Small prey were consumed more often, but large prey provided the majority of their caloric intake. Caloric intake was calculated by multiplying the number of times a prey type was documented by the amount of kilocalories an individual of that species typically provides. Gray squirrels were especially important prey for lactating females, providing 62% of the calories in scat and 72% of the calories in prey remains. We documented consumption of eastern moles and the delivery of multiple prey to the den at the same time, both previously unreported for this species. This is novel research that can be used by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians, the Sault Sainte Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, the United States Forest Service and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to manage for marten habitat in Michigan.
Tags: Mammal, Nutrition, Behavior
The Influence of Habitat and Landscape Associations On Breeding Birds in Managed Grasslands of Southwest Michigan
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Whitney Lambert*, Cornerstone University; Darien Lozon*, Cornerstone University; Robert Keys, Cornerstone University.
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Grassland birds are nationally experiencing a significant population decline primarily due to conversion of habitat to agricultural and industrial uses. In southwest Michigan, managers of restored prairies hoped the removal of hedgerows in their prairies would increase biodiversity of the fields. Despite their efforts, bird diversity has not seemed to increase. We analyzed bird diversity at ten sites representing four management practices (restored prairie, mixed management, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and mowing). Bird diversity was measured using 7 weeks of point count surveys. We also measured vegetation and surrounding landscape characteristics to analyze what habitat characteristics, landscape features, and management practices act as attractors or detriments to grassland birds. We focused specifically on Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, bobolink, song sparrow, field sparrow, eastern meadowlark, and savannah sparrow at each site. Mean diversity at restored prairies and mixed management sites was low or absent (H’ = 0.068 and 0, respectively). Mowed fields had the highest mean diversity (H’= 1.436) followed by CRP (H’= 0.474). Fescue grasses Festuca spp. had the highest relationship with diversity at a magnitude 78.4% greater than goldenrods Solidago spp. and 123.8% greater than big bluestem Andropogon gerardi. Models indicated a high correlation between urban areas and bird diversity, including both fields surrounded by urban areas (1-km radius from center of each field) and fields directly adjacent to urban areas (R2 = 0.868 and R2 = 0.699, respectively). The restoration of big bluestem prairies with burn cycles to make grassland bird habitat is not supported by this diversity study. Mowed, mixed diversity grasslands with urban edges were more indicative of grassland bird diversity, especially IUCN near-threatened Henslow’s sparrows Ammodramus henslowii.
Tags: Avian, Grassland, Management, Restoration/Enhancement
Accuracy of GIS Data in Predicting Habitat Type For The Massasauga Sistrurus Catenatus
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Taylor Lehman*, Jordan Marshall, Bruce Kingsbury
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Geographical information systems (GIS) are commonly used to evaluate wildlife habitat availability and extent. However, the value of this approach is dependent on the quality of the data being used. We present the results of an effort to assess the accuracy of commonly used spatial data. Historical Massasauga observations were placed into a GIS and population boundaries were delineated based on county orthoimagery, national land cover data (NLCD), national wetland inventory data (NWI), and the available literature. Points were then placed within the population boundaries and habitat type was characterized at each of these points using GIS data. During the summer of 2015, a subsample (about 50%) of these points were visited to determine the observed habitat type and quality for Massasaugas (ground validation). Chi-square tests were later used to determine if habitat assignments made in GIS were comparable to those made during ground validation. The proportion of different habitat types were independent of the method used. However, habitat type predictions were often observed to be incorrect and correct predictions were not independent of habitat type. We recommend ground validating any habitat classification or suitability assessment made in a GIS. We also suggest including potentially unsuitable habitat when mapping any species’ population boundaries using NLCD, NWI, and orthoimagery layers.
Tags: Habitat, Threatened and Endangered Species, Technology/Geographic Information Systems
Fledging Success Rate of Piping Plover Chicks Based On Frequency of Parental Disturbance During Incubation
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Jacob Northuis, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University; Jason Garvon, Ph.D., School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The endangered Great Lakes population of piping plovers Charadrious melodus is the smallest population of piping plovers at 73 nesting pairs in 2015. Nesting occurs on open beaches and disturbances causing parents to move from the nest to avoid detection of eggs may be common, even with nest exclosures in place. We conducted an observational study to better understand the relationship between frequency of parental disturbance during incubation on overall chick success at the plover nesting sites in the eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan (Grand Marais, Gulliver, Port Inland and Vermilion). Data was collected using game cameras attached to nest exclosures taking pictures and 30 second videos of nest exchanges and to capture instances of disturbance as well as the source of disturbance. Preliminary analysis suggests that there is no significant correlation between number of disturbances and number of chicks fledged (p=0.2177). While many efforts are focused on avoiding disturbance of nesting plovers, our preliminary data suggests disturbance alone is not a significant factor in the determining fledging success of chicks. Further assessment of remoteness of nesting sites and frequency of disturbance could reveal further relationships.
Tags: Avian, Threatened and Endangered Species
Climate Induced Phenological Mismatch Between Karner Blue Butterfly and its Host Plant at Indu
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Tamatha A. Patterson,* Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame; Jason Dzurisin, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame; Ralph Grundel, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Jessica Hellmann, Institute on the Environment and Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University of Minnesota
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Climate change is altering the phenology of many plant and animal species. However, because plants and animals have evolved different cues, the warming pattern will effect species differently. In some cases, climate change could potentially produce phenological mismatching between interacting species. In 2011, an experiment was undertaken at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (INDU) to investigate phenology between the endangered Karner blue butterfly Lycaeides melissa samuelis (Kbb) and its obligate host plant, wild blue lupine Lupinus perennis. Spring hatching of overwintering Kbb eggs was monitored across the landscape in conjunction with the emergence of lupine plants. This experiment was repeated in 2013 and 2014. Additional lab experiments tested ova hatching to varying temperature treatments. Also in late summer of 2012, Kbb larval success in relation to lupine senescence was assessed under variable canopy cover conditions. Results suggest that the early spring of 2012 experienced at INDU caused a distinct disconnect between the emergence of Kbb larvae and the emergence of its host plant, wild lupine, as compared to the following two years. Further, larval success was directly related to the landscape variation experienced by the host plant. Larval emergence prior to host plant emergence can lead to the starvation of larvae just as equally as lack of available food later in the season. Both negatively affect Kbb populations.
Tags: Threatened and Endangered Species, Climate
Use of Cabanas by Piping Plover Chicks After Hatching
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Gislaine Peters, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University; Jason Garvon, Ph.D., School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The Great Lakes piping plover Charadrius melodus is a critically endangered species with only 73 breeding pairs in 2015. As such intense nest monitoring, including use of nest exclosures and predator control are employed to aid increased reproduction. In 2013 cover structures known as “plover cabanas” were introduced at Grand Marais, MI to offer plover chicks shelter from sun and predators during the day. While monitors have witnessed plovers using the cabanas there has not been a quantitative assessment of their use. We set motion sensitive game cameras, ˜ 0.4 meters, from plover cabanas at four nesting locations, Grand Marais, Gulliver, Port Inland, and Vermilion, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to quantify the use of the “plover cabanas”. Plovers were observed using cabanas in 51 of 710 pictures taken. Use of cabanas varied by nesting site (P=xxx). Overall, cabanas seem to offer needed structure on beaches void of driftwood as parents used them as a perch to watch chicks forage, and chicks used them as cover in harsh weather. Predators were not observed using cabanas as perches. While usage varied by site there were no negative impacts observed from cabanas indicating that continued use is warranted.
Tags: Avian, Threatened and Endangered Species
Black Tern Conservation in the Great Lakes Region
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Caleb Putnam*, Audubon; Nathaniel Miller, Audubon
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Black tern populations have experienced drastic declines in recent decades, including a decline of 48-71% between 1991 and 2006 in Michigan, and range-wide losses of 61% between 1966 and 1996. This constitutes a 3% annual reduction in numbers. Both the proximate and ultimate causes of this decline are unclear, though preliminary demographic data from studies in breeding colonies in Wisconsin suggest adult survivorship may be too low in some areas to support population maintenance. The generality of this result is unclear and requires replication. Basic demographic information for most colonies is lacking, as well as information on colony interchange rates/site fidelity and even basic non-breeding distribution and ecology. A species of conservation concern in most Great Lakes states, the black tern is receiving increasing amount of attention by federal and state agencies, including by funders at the Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Joint Venture. Since 2013 Audubon has been studying productivity and survivorship of the largest remaining black tern colony in Michigan: St. Clair Flats. Project lead Caleb Putnam will present demographic data from this important colony, including what we have learned about conservation threats there. Caleb will also present on the direction of future conservation work for terns across the Great Lakes, including population-level monitoring efforts, tracking/telemetry to elucidate breeding site fidelity and exchange rates, habitat modeling, and threat assessments from other large colonies such as Ogontz Bay, Michigan and Tawas Lake, Michigan.
Tags: Avian, Great Lakes, Management, Population Dynamics, Wetland
Differences in Spring Food Availability For Dabbling Ducks Among Wetland Types in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin, USA
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Travis J Schepker* University of Missouri; Elisabeth Webb, Missouri Cooperative Research Unit; Ted LaGrange; Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Despite a 90% decrease in wetland habitats and ongoing degradation from urban and agricultural land use, Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin serves as a critical staging area for migratory waterfowl within the Central Flyway. In early spring, playa wetlands in the Rainwater Basin provide essential stopover habitat to 9 million waterfowl by presenting opportunities to acquire energy and protein needed to complete migration and initiate egg production. Given the Rainwater Basin’s annual role in sustaining relatively large waterfowl densities with limited wetland habitat, it is necessary that conservation managers obtain accurate estimates of wetland derived food resource availability to calculate energetic carrying capacity. Previous efforts have been made to estimate food biomass on actively managed public wetlands, however no attempts have been made to estimate food resource availability on passively managed private wetlands that account for over 50% of the Rainwater Basins total wetland inventory. We assessed spring forage availability and depletion on public, cropped, and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) wetlands in 2014 and 2015. Our estimates included plant seeds and aquatic invertebrates known to be consumed by waterfowl. In both years, benthic seed samples were collected from 30 wetlands prior to migration and during a second period when the majority of birds had left the region. In 2014 pre-migratory seed biomass was greatest in WRP sites (504.6 kg/ha), followed by public (485.6 kg/ha), and cropped wetlands (229.1 kg/ha). We evaluated benthic and nektonic invertebrate communities bi-monthly to determine mean biomass on 20 wetlands in 2014 and 27 wetlands in 2015. Invertebrate biomass was greatest on cropped (36.6 kg/ha), followed by public (17.8 kg/ha), and finally WRP (10.4kg/ha). Given the relatively high energetic output displayed in this study, resource managers may consider WRP wetlands as viable options to increase energetic carrying capacity in other regions.
Tags: Avian, Ecology, Habitat, Nutrition, Wetland
Behavioral Determinants of Parasite Transmission in a Wild Butterfly Host
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Anna Schneider*, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; Ania Majewska, University of Georgia; Sonia Altizer, University of Georgia; Richard Hall, University of Georgia
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Altered behavior of an infected host can have important consequences for pathogen transmission. Pathogens can cause the host to increase foraging behavior and decrease activity levels due to increased energetic demands, which can significantly change the spread of the pathogen. Monarchs can suffer from a debilitating protozoan parasite, Ophryocystis elektroscirrha (OE), which is transmitted when infected adults inadvertently shed spores on milkweed Asclepias spp. leaves that are subsequently consumed by the caterpillars. While infected adults are known to experience reduced flight ability and survival, less is known about how infection influences milkweed visitation behavior and, therefore, spore deposition. Here, we investigated whether infection status altered activity budgets of wild adult Monarchs, particularly visitation rates to milkweed for foraging or oviposition. Behavioral observations and milkweed visitation rates of adult Monarchs, both infected and uninfected, were collected in the butterfly gardens at the Wormsloe Historic Site in Savannah, GA. Our results concluded that sex, not infection status, showed significance in variation of behavior. Milkweed visitation rates were higher than previously thought and these are critical for parasite persistence. These data provide the first field estimates of parasite spore deposition rates in monarchs. We modified an existing differential equation model of monarch-OE dynamics to include adults contaminated with OE spores through mating and milkweed visitation. According to this model, late-season OE prevalence varied between 16.5 and 78.6%. This is consistent with the wide range of OE prevalence recorded in US monarchs (6-20% in the Midwest, up to 100% in tropical milkweed patches in the Southeast).
Tags: Diseases/Parasites, Invertebrate, Modeling, Ecology
Avian Assemblages in An Urban Matrix
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Ryan Smith*, Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne; Bruce Kingsbury, Indiana-Purdue University Fort Wayne
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: It is well known that habitat size and quality play a role in determining the presence of birds. What is less well understood is how land use surrounding habitat patches affects avian assemblages. This is especially important in and around cities, where birds must face not only limited habitat availability, but also the potentially hazardous surrounding anthropogenic matrix. To explore such impacts, we surveyed twenty-five deciduous woodlots in and around Fort Wayne, Indiana using point counts to obtain data on the avian inhabitants breeding in these woodlots. Each woodlot was visited three times to obtain a comprehensive site-specific species richness list. Data was also collected pertaining to both forest patch characteristics and the urban matrix surrounding each site in a variety of buffer sizes ranging from 100 m to 3000 m. Correlations between bird community composition and housing density, length of roads, amount of vehicle traffic, and distance to water features were uncovered. These correlations and their conservation and management implications for urban and suburban decision making will be discussed.
Tags: Avian, Ecology, Habitat, Landscape Ecology, Management
Examining Environmental Predictors of Pasting Behavior in Female Striped Hyenas
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Olivia S. Spagnuolo*, School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan; Bobbi S. Low, School of Natural Resources, University of Michigan; Kay E. Holekamp, Department of Zoology, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Despite the wide spectrum of sociality exhibited by mammal species, much research on mammalian sociality has focused on highly gregarious species, while largely ignoring less social species. One example of an “intermediate” species is the striped hyena Hyaena hyaena, the behavioral ecology of which is poorly understood. Striped hyenas were previously considered to be solitary, but recent findings have suggested that this is not the case. We seek to reveal cryptic sociality in striped hyenas by examining the relationship between “pasting” (anal gland scent marking) behavior and home range overlap of conspecifics. Specifically, we investigated correlations between pasting and number of conspecifics holding overlapping home ranges; the sex ratio of these conspecifics; and the genetic relatedness between these conspecifics and focal hyenas. Data were collected from a small population of striped hyenas in the southern Great Rift Valley of Kenya (2007-2009) via focal animal sampling and genetic sampling. The paste locations of six female hyenas were compared to regions of home range overlap among twelve hyenas (nm=6, nf=6) in ArcGIS. Results showed a strong positive correlation between the total number of overlapping home ranges and female pasting. Sex ratio and genetic relatedness were not significant predictors of female pasting, likely because the sample size was very small. However, this raises interesting questions for further research: these results suggest that striped hyenas exhibit some degree of sociality, which would have implications for habitat restoration in this near-threatened species.
Tags: Behavior, Mammal, Threatened and Endangered Species, Technology/Geographic Information Systems, Ecology
Avian Nest Success Within Agricultural Buffer Strips
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Matt Stephenson*, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Julia Dale, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Lisa Schulte-Moore, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Iowa State University; Robert Klaver, U.S. Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Intensive row crop agriculture is often associated with sediment and nutrient runoff that contributes to poor water quality at both local and continental scales. Strategic planting of native perennial vegetation in contour strips within a row-cropped landscape has been shown to drastically reduce surface runoff of nitrate and soil sediments and also provide multiple benefits, potentially including habitat for wildlife such as nesting birds. Our study sites included five commercial farms in central Iowa that have contour buffer strips of varying age, width, and plant diversity. We searched all grassy and crop areas on the farms for bird nests between May and August in 2015 and monitored nests with thermal data loggers and frequent visits near transition periods to determine if nests succeeded. Vegetation and other physical characteristics of habitat near nests were measured to serve as covariates in nest success models, with special interest in plant diversity and contour strip width. In 2015 we found and monitored 201 nests of 22 species of birds, including 7 species listed as species of greatest conservation need in Iowa. In our first field season, overall nest success was low with only 34 of 201 nests successfully fledging host species young. Species specific success rates included: red-winged Blackbird 9.9% (n=91), vesper sparrow 17.4% (n=23), American robin 19.0% (n=21), and dickcissel 0% (n=18). Low nesting success for breeding birds in narrow, linear habitats is well documented, but we hope to be able to inform the design of prairie strips to make the strips as beneficial to nesting birds as possible. We plan to continue searching for and monitoring nests over the next four nesting seasons.
Tags: Avian, Grassland, Landscape Ecology, Modeling, Wildlife Techniques
Restoring a Missing Component To Northeastern Illinois Restorations: The Shrub Layer
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Daniel Suarez*
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: In northeastern Illinois, many large-scale restorations are missing a key component: healthy native shrub layers. In most cases, invasive species like Buckthorn and Honeysuckle are removed, but the structure and food sources they provide are never replaced. This can have negative impacts on migratory bird populations that rely on food and safe places to rest on their journeys to Canada and South America. In 2015, Audubon Chicago Region, in conjunction with Forest Preserves of Cook County and Chicago Park District, is helping restore a native shrub layer at two Chicago River-side sites, Miami Woods and Ronan Park. Over two years, the seeds of over twenty species of native shrubs were collected from locally appropriate sites and grown in a nursery. In 2015, planting of nearly 800 floodplain, prairie, prairie edge, and oak woodland-dependent shrub species began. Over the next few years, concentrated migratory bird and shrub monitoring will occur to assess initial responses to the newly restored shrub layer. Given that examples of native shrub restorations are hard to come by, there are many important questions to be asked (and potentially answered) in this project. Among them are: What species and composition best support migratory birds during stopover? Are there benefits to planting shrub seeds in situ vs. planting young shrubs? Should species be planted in single-species clumps, or should clumps be inter-species? How beneficial are inter-species clumps for birds? How long will it take for migratory birds to start using planted shrubs? How long do shrubs need to be protected from deer browsing? Does mulching around planted shrubs compromise their long-term survival? The implications for the success or failure of this project are far-reaching. If best practices are established, can we expect landowners to embrace the re-establishment of the native shrub layer?
Tags: Restoration/Enhancement, Avian, Habitat, Great Lakes, Ecology
Habitat Use and Pesticide Exposure in Northern Leopard Frogs in Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program Wetlands
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Jennifer Swanson*, Iowa State University; Clay Pierce, US Geological Survey, Iowa Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; Erin Muths, US Geological Survey; Kelly Smalling, US Geological Survey; Mark Vandever, US Geological Survey
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Amphibian populations are declining, with habitat alternation due to land use change consistently identified as one of the biggest contributing factors. In agricultural landscapes, habitat loss may interact with other stressors such as environmental contaminants to exacerbate declines. During the past two centuries, much of the landscape in northern Iowa has been transformed from a mosaic of seasonal wetlands and grasslands to intensively farmed row crops. In 2001, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) was created to improve water quality in the Mississippi River Basin through construction of wetlands positioned on the landscape to catch runoff from tile drainage systems and reduce nutrient effluent. However, these CREP wetlands may provide additional benefits, particularly as wildlife habitat. Our objective was to radio track northern leopard frogs Lithobates pipiens to record their movement in and around CREP wetlands and assess the pesticides in which they may come in contact. Although these sites are surrounded by vegetative buffers of varying width, they are often located in close proximity to agricultural fields where pesticides and fertilizers are applied. During the summer of 2015 we captured and radio tracked frogs (n=38) at two CREP wetlands in northern Iowa using internally implanted radio transmitters. Frogs were tracked for an average of 30 days and passive pesticide samplers (PPSs) were placed in locations frequented by frogs to test for presence and concentration of contaminants to which frogs were exposed. Presence and concentrations of pesticides on PPSs were compared to corresponding values found in a subset of frogs (n=18) that were euthanized after they had been tracked (average of 34 days). Frogs moved from their original capture points to a variety of habitats in the surrounding buffer, grasslands, and agricultural fields at each site and were relocated up to 700m away from the wetland.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Wetland, Habitat, Restoration/Enhancement, Behavior
Thermoregulation in Juvenile Blanding’s Turtles Emydoidea Blandingii At Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Saginaw MI, USA
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Melissa Szymanski, University of Michigan–Flint; Mallorey Smith, University of Michigan–Flint; Sasha Davis, University of Michigan–Flint; Billy Gibala, University of Michigan–Flint; Krista Bergman, University of Michigan–Flint; Jessica Taylor, University of Michigan–Flint; Morgan Warda, University of Michigan–Flint; Teresa Yoder-Nowak, University of Michigan–Flint
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Blanding’s turtles are freshwater turtles with a range spanning across Northeast and Midwest North America. They are a species of special concern in the state of Michigan and are listed as threatened or endangered throughout the rest of their geographic range. One and a half year old Blanding’s turtles that were headstarted by the Detroit Zoological Society are part of an ongoing conservation project with Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw, MI. The goal of this project is to bolster population abundance in the refuge. One important factor to consider while making conservation and management plans for turtles is thermoregulation, as it affects many physiological processes. Thermochron iButton data loggers were epoxied to the carapaces of eight Blanding’s turtles to record temperature at equal intervals before being released at the refuge. In addition, Thermochron iButtons were used to record water temperature at varying water depths from substrate to surface in the pool where turtles were released. Data from 2014 and 2015 will be presented on the preferred temperature ranges and basking tendencies of the juvenile Blanding’s turtles. This research will help to provide information on thermoregulation patterns for this understudied age class to aid in future conservation and management efforts.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Ecology, Threatened and Endangered Species
Overwintering Habits of Juvenile Blanding’s Turtles Emydoidea Blandingii at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, Saginaw MI, USA
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Melissa Szymanski, University of Michigan–Flint; Sasha Davis, University of Michigan–Flint; Billy Gibala, University of Michigan–Flint; Mallorey Smith, University of Michigan–Flint; & Teresa Yoder-Nowak, University of Michigan–Flint
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Blanding’s turtles are freshwater turtles with a range spanning across Northeast and Midwest North America. They have the most northern range of any freshwater turtle in North America. They are a species of special concern in the state of Michigan and are listed as threatened or endangered throughout the rest of their geographic range. Two year old Blanding’s turtles that were headstarted by the Detroit Zoological Society are part of a continuing conservation project with Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge in Saginaw, MI. The goal of this project is to increase population abundance in the refuge. It is important to understand the overwintering sites and thermoregulation patterns of Blanding’s turtles and utilize this information in management planning. Blanding’s turtles move shorter distances in the winter and remain in the same water body when ice covered. Twenty four Headstarted Blanding’s turtles were tracked throughout the winter months using radio telemetry; habitat and environmental conditions were also recorded. Thermochron iButton data loggers where epoxied to six of the turtles to record carapace temperatures and a temperature pole was set up to record water temperature at varying depths from surface to substrate. Habitat factors and thermoregulation patterns were analyzed to further understand overwintering habits of juvenile Blanding’s turtles and aid in conservation management.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Ecology, Habitat, Technology/Geographic Information Systems, Threatened and Endangered Species
Preliminary Comparison of Adult Urban and Rural White-Tailed Deer Home Range Size in Southern Indiana
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Jonathan K. Trudeau*, Garrett B. Clevinger, and Timothy C. Carter - Ball State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: White-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus have been extensively researched throughout their distribution and in varying habitat types. Interest in urban populations has been growing due to increasing densities of white-tailed deer in these areas. Though much is known about urban populations and their rural counterparts, little is known about how these two populations interact with one another and how their home ranges vary within adjacent areas during the same time period. Understanding the differences between urban and rural white-tailed deer home range sizes in adjacent areas is essential to effectively manage the two populations using proper management methods. Our study sites were Morgan, Monroe, and Brown counties in southern Indiana. The white-tailed deer population in the City of Bloomington, IN stood as our urban study zone. Using a drop net and dart projector, we caught and collared 5 rural and 16 urban adult white-tailed deer between January 21st and July 30th, 2015. Of the 21 deer collared, 17 had Global Positioning System (GPS) collars and the other 4 had VHF radio transmitter collars. Locations were collected three times per day on the GPS collars and twice a week on the radio transmitter collars. We expected the urban deer to have smaller home ranges than the rural deer. Preliminary results show estimated rural deer home range sizes to be approximately 40% larger than the adjacent urban deer population. Male and female estimated home range sizes did not vary within urbanization class, suggesting that urbanicity may have a greater impact on home range size than sex.
Tags: Mammal, Landscape Ecology, Population Dynamics
McDonald Island Predator Study
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Jeremiah Ulrich, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: McDonald Island is a 34 acre island in the Wisconsin river near Stevens Point. The understory of the island has become overrun with an invasive plant species called Japanese barberry. The island is frequented by white-tailed deer, which browse the understory eating the native plants and leaving the barberry intact. Deer presence has been associated with barberry invasiveness, but the degree to which the white-tailed deer affect barberry proliferation has not been studied, and this island offers a unique chance to do just that. The objective of the project is to determine the relative abundance of predators on the island as compared to similar habitat on the mainland. Examining predator presence and activity on the island will give us an idea of deer occupation. Due to the island’s proximity to the mainland it is unlikely that there is any standing carnivore population, but it is possible that the island is visited by predators opportunistically. If the island’s predator abundance is relatively lower than the mainland’s it stands to reason that deer are more likely to remain there for longer periods of time, and thus could have a potentially greater impact on plant life. Conversely, if the predator abundance is similar or higher, that would indicate that the reason for barberry’s success may be something other than deer.
Tags: Ecology, Exotic/Invasive Species, Habitat
Turtle Species Comparisons Between Two Eastern Iowa River Sites
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Anthony M. Vorwald*, University of Dubuque; Wade M. Gibson, University of Dubuque; Jake M. Theis, University of Dubuque; David E. Koch, University of Dubuque
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: This project compares species dynamics of sympatric turtle species found in different aquatic habitat types in the same geographic region. Site A was a backwater region of 9-mile Island in Pool 12 in the Mississippi River near Dubuque IA. Site B was a representative tributary of the Mississippi River (Lytle’s Creek, southwest of Dubuque, in northern Jackson County). We compared species diversity and composition between the two sites and compared population dynamics turtle species found within both sites. 66 individuals were caught in total. 61 being from Site A, and 5 from Site B. Three species were trapped at Site A: C. picta, G. geographica, and C. serpentina. Two species were trapped at site B: C. serpentina and A. spinifera. The only turtle species found in common between sites was C. serpentina. Site A hosts a larger diversity and population of turtles where Site B presented less diversity and population size. Unlike Site A, Site B did not yield any recaptured turtles from this trapping year, along with the largest turtle trapped during this project. This project continues a long term study conducted by the University of Dubuque on turtle communities in the backwater area of 9-mile Island. Of the turtles caught during this project 27 were recaptures from previous years. Of the recaptured individuals from previous projects some early captured turtles were present, including turtles trapped 7 years earlier.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Ecology, River/Stream, Population Dynamics
Eastern Tiger Salamander Ambystoma Tigrinum Larval Density and Aquatic Invertebrate Communities in West-Central Minnesota
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Zach M. Smith*, University of Minnesota Morris; Heather L. Waye, University of Minnesota Morris
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Tiger salamanders are a common inhabitant of aquatic habitats across much of North America. The larval form may have a considerable impact on the aquatic invertebrate fauna of these habitats, but the exact relationship is unclear. Some studies have shown that larvae select prey based on nutritional quality, while others suggest that larvae target the largest manageable prey item but are otherwise opportunistic. Our goal was to examine prairie pothole aquatic invertebrate communities in relation to eastern tiger salamander Ambystoma tigrinum population density. Three potholes in west-central Minnesota were each sampled in June and August of 2015 using minnow traps. These potholes are separated by less than 1500 meters, and while they differ in size they appear similar in structure. Salamander density was estimated using the number of captures per trap-night, while aquatic invertebrates were sampled at each trap site in each pond using D-frame nets. Invertebrates captured in the minnow traps were also recorded. Salamander stomach contents were collected and invertebrates were identified to family and counted. The density of salamander larvae in Bee pond was twice that of Nursery pond, and ten times that of Intersection pond. June capture rates were more than double those in August, across all three ponds. We compare salamander diet and aquatic invertebrates across the three ponds and between the sampling periods. Major differences in aquatic invertebrate communities and /or salamander diets between the three ponds may point us in the direction needed to determine the reason for the apparent variation in salamander reproductive success in seemingly similar pond habitats.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Invertebrate, Wetland, Ecology
Characterizing Waterfowl Populations On Restored Wetlands
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: Autumn Wiese*
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Habitat degradation has led to decline in waterfowl populations in areas across the United States. One way to counter the degradation of habitat is wetland restoration and mitigation, those projects recreate the habitat that was once lost. There are still some questions on how much use these new wetland are getting used. The objective of this study was to compare the bird use of select restored and mitigated wetlands compared to natural wetlands. Trail cameras were placed at 4 study sites in Mason County, MI to capture detailed images of the migrating waterfowl. An additional 4 sites were observed, via the point source survey method. The data was then broken down into what site the data was received from as well as what species of birds were seen. Permutation and chi-squared analysis were run to compare bird use by species of the mitigation vs. natural wetlands. It shows that the birds do use both wetlands, in a 2:1 ratio, where for every 2 birds seen at the natural sites there was one at the restored sites. The results from this study will assist in future projects that aim to understand how waterfowl react to restored and mitigated wetlands.
Tags: Habitat, Wetland, Management, Restoration/Enhancement, Hunting
Spatial Ecology of Sandhill Crane Populations in Minnesota
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: David Wolfson, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota; David E. Andersen, U.S. Geological Survey, Minnesota Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, University of Minnesota; Tom Cooper, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Division of Migratory Bird Management; Jeff Lawrence, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Wetland Wildlife Population and Research Group; John Fieberg, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, University of Minnesota
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Minnesota is one of the few states to contain portions of two distinct breeding populations of sandhill cranes, the Mid-Continent Population (MCP) and the Eastern Population (EP). Historically, the breeding range boundaries of these two populations in Minnesota did not overlap. Recent increase in the size of the EP has resulted in a higher number of EP cranes breeding in Minnesota, and apparent overlap in distribution between the EP and MCP. Management options in the state are currently limited because the boundaries of MCP and EP cranes are not clearly delineated. Furthermore, additional information concerning how cranes use habitat at local and landscape scales is required to effectively manage sandhill cranes in Minnesota. We captured sandhill cranes during the 2014 and 2015 field seasons in the potential tension zone between historic breeding range boundaries. We fitted captured cranes with cellular-based GPS transmitter to monitor their locations throughout the year with high spatial and temporal resolution. Resulting movement and location data provide insight into current breeding range boundaries, movements of juvenile cranes, migration ecology, and habitat use. Movement data from 2014 identified potential novel migrations corridors and possible breeding range overlap between populations. We also present preliminary quantitative evaluation of a priori hypotheses of behavioral landscape use during different life history stages throughout the year.
Tags: Avian, Ecology
Golf Courses as a Potential Refuge Or Habitat For Coyotes in the Chicago Metropolitan Area
Topic: General - Wildlife
Authors: David Minich, The Ohio State University; Ashley Wurth*, The Ohio State University; Stan Gehrt, The Ohio State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Golf courses can be an effective and important wildlife habitat for many species. Studies have shown that golf courses can contain levels of biodiversity equal to or above the habitats they replace as a result of the many diverse habitats found on courses, including ponds, streams, wetlands, grasslands, and mature forests. Few studies, however, have focused on the use of golf courses by mammalian carnivores, such as coyotes, especially within heavily urbanized landscapes. We determined the extent of coyote utilization and selection of golf courses in Cook County, Illinois and tested how the factors of resident status, season, and time of day affected use. We predicted that golf courses would be used by coyotes because they can potentially mimic natural habitat and supply resources to meet needs in an otherwise concrete developed landscape. As predicted, coyotes increased their use of the golf course at times of decreased human use, including seasonal shifts in the timing of use. However, no positive correlation between the relative use of golf courses and the amount of development (therefore lack of green space) in the home range was found. Although there were general trends, there was a considerable amount of individual variation in coyote use and selection of golf courses, with some resident coyotes selecting for and others avoiding golf courses in their home range. Golf courses are used and can provide resources and possible refuge for coyotes, however differences between the landscape and management of golf courses can cause variation in the suitability of this habitat for a coyote. Furthermore, individual coyote tolerance and habituation to more developed landscapes could also influence the effectiveness of using a golf course as a habitat.
Tags: Mammal, Habitat, Ecology, Landscape Ecology
Fisheries
Microbial Colonization Dynamics in Lake Sturgeon Larvae Digestive Tracts
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Shairah Abdul Razak*, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University ; Kim T. Scribner, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife & Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University ; Terence L. Marsh, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The gut microbiota of fish larvae develops quickly from simple to complex communities. Many factors especially host physiology, diet, and rearing environment can greatly affect the establishment and successional changes in these communities. Nevertheless, it is difficult to unravel complex interaction between factors, and studies to date have primarily focused on the relative importance of these factors in determining specific changes in gut microbiota. Gut microbiota have also been shown to play roles in fish growth and survival through digestive efficiency, nutrient metabolism, and early innate immune response. This has motivated studies to understand mechanisms responsible for succesional dynamics following early stages of colonization through establishment of stable, diversified and resilient endogenous microbial communities. We characterized the temporal variation in the gut microbiota of lake sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) larvae, reared in each of four experimental conditions generated by two treatment factors: water quality (UV-treated ground water vs river water) and diet (supplemented vs non-supplemented). Next generation sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA was used to quantify bacterial species diversity and composition (Shannon-diversity indices) and to quantify variation in fish gut microbiota between treatment groups based on PERMANOVA analyses of Bray-Curtis distances among gut samples. Non-metric multi dimensional scaling (NMDS) was performed to graphically represent the samples and trajectories of microbiota variation across ontogenic stages. Community composition shown to be varied as a function of time, not due to treatment. This information will contribute to understanding of roles of host and environmental factors in determining the bacterial communities in fish gut ecosystem, larval growth and survival in aquaculture and in the wild.
Tags: Statistics, Ecology, Nutrition, Freshwater Fish, Physiology
Zooplankton Dynamics in the Minnesota River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Marianne Adamek*; Nathan Lederman; Shannon J. Fisher – Minnesota State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Zooplankton refers to a wide variety of heterotrophic organisms typically found suspended in the water column. As primary consumers zooplankton respond to the frequently rapid changes in primary production associated with water quality. Therefore, zooplankton community composition can be used as an indicator of river condition. A baseline description that includes species richness and diversity using a variety of taxa of zooplankton for every major water body can help us understand the workings of that particular ecosystem. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has been documenting the zooplankton communities in Minnesota lakes since 2008 in an effort to document changes associated with environmental variables, such as eutrophication, climate, and/or presence of aquatic invasive species. However, few studies have delved into zooplankton community assessment in flowing-water systems. We therefore, obtained zooplankton samples from multiple sites along the middle portions of the Minnesota River to investigate the community dynamics, particularly in relation to hydrologic stage. Zooplanktons were sampled using a Wisconsin style vertical net with 80--micron mesh and a 12.7--cm mouth. Sampling occurred from April to August in 2015 with zooplanktons being identified to the lowest taxonomic-grouping possible using Zooplankton Sonar©. Preliminary data show Copepoda (Cyclopoid, Calanoid, Macrocyclops spp. and Harpacticoida), Daphnia spp., Ostracoda, Ceriodaphnia spp., Rotifera and Ephemeroptera instar densities (individuals/liter) are significantly different (p < 0.05) between locations. This information will be useful for managers evaluating changes that occur from management actions, increased habitat degradation, and/or introduction of exotic species.
Tags: Ecology, River/Stream, Population Dynamics, Invertebrate, Management
Evidence of Morphological Differences Between Bluegill Lepomis Macrochirus Rafinesque, 1819 Populations Within Grand Lake St. Mary’s Watershed
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Anthony Bell Jr.*, Stephen J. Jacquemin – Department of Biological Sciences, Wright State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Past experiments and field observations have suggested that local habitats can have drastic effects on the overall shape of fish – which, when linked with functional relationships, can have ramifications for niche, dispersal, and occurrence. Despite the growing base of ecomorphology literature there is comparatively little information available exploring how habitat (e.g. substrate, flow regime, water chemistry, etc.) may affect the body morphology of Centrarchidae, specifically those in the Lepomis genera. The objective of this study was to describe body shape variation in bluegill Lepomis machrochirus as well as local habitat in the Grand Lake St. Mary’s watershed (Ohio). Here, we employ geometric morphometrics to describe variation in morphology and utilize linear models to test for covariation with habitat. Using a series of 15 landmarks in conjunction with Procrustes method, relative warp analysis quantified 71 percent of variation among individuals sampled. Subsequent linear models identified body size, sex, flow (i.e. lentic vs. lotic), and interactions therein as contributing factors to morphological variation. Among all individuals, morphological variation was predominantly driven by body size, while sex and flow regimes were secondary. Those individuals with deeper bodies and more pronounced foreheads were indicative of larger males while lotic individuals were differentiated from lentic by possessing a more streamlined shape coupled with a more robust caudal peduncle region. These results indicate the presence of allometry, sexual shape dimorphism, and habitat induced phenotypic plasticity. Broad applications of these findings can link to evolutionary ecology, management, and conservation.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Inland Lake/Reservoir
How Wide Is Too Wide? Transect Spacing For Hydroacoustic Surveys
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Lewis Bruce*, Iowa Department of Natural Resources; Darcy Cashatt, Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Hydroacoustic surveys are routinely completed by state and federal agencies and private companies to produce maps and calculate morphometric parameters. Habitat and bathymetry maps are used by anglers to increase fishing success. Lake managers also use maps as well as lake morphometrics (e.g., volume, mean depth) in planning and evaluating management efforts. Deciding what information needs to be obtained is the first step to setting up a hydroacoustic survey. Is it a detailed map of the bottom or a volume figure? Detailed bathymetry maps require navigating a tighter transect spacing compared to calculating volume. Ideally transects should be adequately spaced to collect all data needed and avoid oversampling and maximize efficiency. Four natural lakes and eight impoundments ranging from 22 to 640 acres were surveyed between 2006 and 2013 using a 20 meter transect spacing. Transect data were removed from each survey to simulate 40, 60, 80, and 100 meter spacing. Morphometric parameters and detailed maps were compared for each transect spacing. Results were used to justify appropriate transect spacing of hydroacoustic surveys based on information need.
Tags: Survey Methods, Technology/Geographic Information Systems, Inland Lake/Reservoir, Fisheries Techniques, Management
Land Use Heterogeneity and Its Effects On Diet Composition of Juvenile Steelhead in Lake Michigan Tributaries
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Kyle Brumm,* Central Michigan University; Nicole Watson, Central Michigan University; Kevin Pangle, Central Michigan University; Jory Jonas, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Many ecologically and economically important Great Lakes fish species spend critical portions of their early lives in tributaries. Land use may alter tributaries in ways that influence the growth and development of these fish and ultimately their contribution to Great Lakes fisheries. For steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss, the extent of land use effects on growth and development of stream-residing juveniles is still an open, but important question to management efforts. Our study evaluated the effect of land use on the foraging of juvenile steelhead in Lake Michigan tributaries and how their diet composition changes with environmental factors such as land use and temperature regimes. Juvenile steelhead were collected from twenty tributaries across the Lake Michigan basin using electroshock techniques from the spring of 2014 through the fall of 2015. We chose a range of tributaries that encompassed a diversity of land use arrangements including agricultural, forested and urbanized settings. The stomach of each individual fish was weighed in its entirety, weighed again after the removal of the prey items, and then the prey items were sorted to the lowest taxonomic level possible. Our results indicate that land use can have large effects on the diets of juvenile steelhead, both in terms of total ration and prey composition. This finding highlights the importance of land use on natural steelhead populations, which in turn, likely has consequences on this important Great Lakes fishery.
Tags: Great Lakes, River/Stream, Freshwater Fish, Nutrition, Invertebrate
PIT Tag Gut-Evacuation Rates of Largemouth Bass and Shortnose Gar After Ingestion of a Tagged Bighead Carp
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Curt Byrd*, Five Rivers Services LLC; Cari-Ann Hayer, United States Geological Survey; Duane C. Chapman, United States Geological Survey
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Passive integrated transponder (PIT) tagged fishes and a PIT-tag detection system are valuable tools for understanding fish movement, habitat use, survival, and predator prey relationships. However, PIT-tagged juveniles or small-bodied fish have a high risk of being consumed by predators. Knowledge of gut-evacuation rates of predators is important in the interpretation of data from a tag in a prey fish that has been consumed. Our objective was to estimate minimum and maximum time for the gut-evacuation of a 9 mm PIT-tag in a juvenile bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis fed to largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides and shortnose gar Lepisosteus platostomus. Predator species, temperature, and feeding rates were examined as variables to predict gut-evacuation rates within a two week maximum period. Largemouth bass gut-evacuation rates were faster than those of shortnose gar. Sixty-six percent of shortnose gar did not evacuate tags in the two week time period of each trial. Among largemouth bass, gut-evacuation rates were faster in warm water treatments than in cool water. Largemouth bass gut-evacuation rates were not consistently faster when fed a similarly sized bighead carp once daily after ingesting the tagged bighead carp. These data on gut-evacuation rates of predators may not only be useful for interpreting PIT-tag studies but may also be applicable to interpretation of studies on the diets of field-collected predators.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Fisheries Techniques
Comparison of Catfish Growth in Two Reaches of the Lower Wabash River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Cassi J. Moody-Carpenter*; Leslie D Frankland; Vaskar Nepal KC; Robert E. Colombo
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: As a 200 mile boundary water, the Wabash River provides an important catfish sport and commercial fishery for both Indiana and Illinois. It currently sustains a large commercial catfish fishery, with catfish comprising approximately 50% and 80% of the harvest by Illinois and Indiana commercial fishers, respectively. To effectively address growth, a variety of gears were deployed during 2010 and 2013. Each catfish sampled was measured to total length (mm) and weighed (g). The pectoral spine was removed from all catfish = 200 mm and < 9 kg, and all fish = 200 mm were tagged with a uniquely numbered Floy tag. Pectoral spines were used for age estimation. For statistical comparisons, the river was divided into 2 reaches at the confluence of the White river. Flathead catfish in the northern reach had and average age of 3.6 ±0.1years, average length of 424.1±7.9mm and average weight of 1148.3±71.7; and 3.5±0.1 years, 411.9±9.3mm and 1197.4±86.4g in southern reach. Channel catfish in the northern reach had and average age of 5.7±0.2years, average length of 479.3±6.4mm and average weight of 1154.2±54.5g; and 5.5±0.1 years, 448.2±8.3mm and 911±54.1g in southern reach. No statistical differences in growth were observed between 2 reaches, therefore the higher discharge observed in the Southern Reach did not affect growth of flathead or channel catfish.
Tags: Freshwater Fish
Hypolimnetic Hypoxia Across A Gradient of Lake Michigan Drowned River Mouth Lakes
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Greg M. Chorak*, Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute; Carl R. Ruetz III, Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute; Dirk J. Koopmans, Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute; Anthony D. Weinke, Grand Valley State University Annis Water Resources Institute; David J. Janetski, Indiana University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Although low dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations (i.e., hypoxia) have been documented annually in the hypolimnion of Muskegon Lake during the summer (from 2011-2015) via an observational buoy. However, the extent of this phenomenon in other drowned river mouth lakes is less clear even though it has important implications for understanding the spatial distribution of fishes in these systems. During August 2015, we sampled nine drowned river mouth (DRM) lakes over 2 weeks, with one additional lake added in September 2015. The 10 DRM lakes represented a gradient in water quality and surface area (range = 71.8-1705 ha) along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. A vertical depth profile of DO concentration and water temperature was measured at the deepest point in each lake and a surface water sample was taken to measure chlorophyll-a concentration. All lakes were thermally stratified, though the magnitude of the stratification varied between lakes. We found that hypolimnetic hypoxia (i.e., DO concentration < 2 mg/L) occurred in 5 of the 10 DRM lakes and that lake geometry likely played a role in whether we detected hypoxia.
Tags: Great Lakes
Development of a Rapid Zooplankton Assessment Tool For Fisheries Research and Management
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Joseph D. Conroy and Richard D. Zweifel, Inland Fisheries Research Unit, Division of Wildlife, Ohio Department of Natural Resources; Ruth D. Briland, Charles F. Moodispaw, and Roxanne M. Anderson, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Each year, the Ohio Division of Wildlife stocks millions of juvenile sportfish (namely Sander spp. and hybrid striped bass) to create put-grow-take fisheries at inland reservoirs. Sportfish are stocked as either fingerlings (about 25-mm total length) or fry (about 7 mm), sizes particularly sensitive to zooplankton forage availability. Zooplankton biomass, community composition, and size have all been found previously to affect the success of sportfish recruitment. However, determining these zooplankton community characteristics relies on detailed microscopic determinations, requiring skilled technicians and several hours per sample to process. Here, we sought to decrease the time and skill needed to quantify total zooplankton biomass at the time of stocking juvenile, obligate planktivore sportfish by comparing microscope-based zooplankton biomass estimates with those determined gravimetrically. To compare biomass determination methods, we collected zooplankton samples (n = 94) from 18 Ohio reservoirs at the time of Sander spp. stocking (late April–early May 2011–2013) and estimated dry biomass both microscopically (MicroB) and gravimetrically (GravB). Zooplankton biomass ranged 0.083–5.333 mg/L (min–max). We found a linear relationship between log-transformed biomasses (MicroB = 0.076 + 1.286 x GravB) which explained a large amount of the total variation (r = 0.792). Rapid, gravimetric determinations of zooplankton biomass has numerous applications; from optimizing stocking approaches to estimating seasonal forage community changes in hatchery ponds, this new approach provides fisheries professionals a ready tool for “quick and dirty” assessments.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Inland Lake/Reservoir, Management, Survey Methods
Effects of European Frog-Bit On Water Quality and Aquatic
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: D.H. Daly*, T. Dunn, and A.H. Moerke – Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Non-natives aquatic plants and animals have been introduced into the Great Lakes since the early 1800s. Currently there are over 180 non-native species in the Great lakes basin; with nearly one-third being aquatic plants. Recently, a new aquatic invasive plant, European frog-bit Hydrocharismorsus-ranae, was identified in two bays, Munuscong Bay and Raber Bay, in the St. Marys River (Lake Huron). Frog-bit is a perennial invasive floating leaf macrophyte that was first identified in the State of Michigan in 2000 in Lake St. Clair and Detroit River marshes, but this was the first finding of frog-bit in more northern waters. Little research has been conducted on frog-bit invasions, and therefore its impacts on aquatic communities are unclear. Our objective was to determine the effects of European frog-bit on water quality and fish assemblages. In the summer of 2015, we selected 12 sites; 6 with frog-bit and 6 sites without frog-bit (reference) in Typha spp. dominated wetlands. At each site water quality (e.g., DO, temperature) was measured and fish were sampled using fyke nets following the GLCW monitoring protocol. A total of 19 different species were caught in this study. Reference sites had significantly more species (7 species) compared to frog-bit sites (4 species). Mean fish CPUE also was higher in reference sites, with 125 (SE+ 58) individuals compared to 42 (SE+ 23) individuals in frog-bit sites, although variability was high and there was no significant difference between the sites. Brown bullhead was more abundant in frog-bit sites. There were no statistical difference to show frog-bit has effects on species abundance; however there is significant difference in species richness between reference sites and frog-bit sites.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes
Rapid Recovery of Aquatic Insects Following a Michigan Dam Removal
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Bradley Dawson, Bethel University; Mason Tennell, Greenville College; Dave Mahan, Au Sable Institute of the Environment
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: In a country and era of aging dams, complete removal is an increasingly popular alternative to dam renovation due to economic and ecological factors. The ecological ramifications of dam removal on biotic communities, especially stream macroinvertebrates, remain inadequately understood. We examined the response of aquatic insects to a 2012 dam removal in the Boardman River, Michigan. Riffle habitats at two reference and four impacted sites were quantitatively sampled for a one year prior and three years following dam removal, establishing a baseline for BACI (Before-After-Control-Impact) experimental design. Insects were identified to genus and sites were analyzed for genera richness, insect density, EPT density, and %EPT (Ephemeroptera, Plecoptera, Trichoptera). Results indicate that post-dam riffle communities recovered within two years of removal, demonstrated by the lack of significant differences between reference and impacted sites in all factors. We conclude that dam removal is a viable option for restoring instream macroinvertebrate communities.
Tags: River/Stream, Restoration/Enhancement, Invertebrate, Great Lakes, Habitat
Painting a Picture of Lake Michigan One Transect at a Time
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Joshua Dub*, Lake Michigan Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois; Sergiusz Czesny, Lake Michigan Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: In aquatic systems, habitat is determined by the physical, chemical, and structural complexities present within the environment. While physical and chemical characteristics can be measured using conventional techniques, describing structural complexity requires a different approach. Illinois waters of Lake Michigan are home to a diverse assemblage of fishes that occupy nearshore areas at different periods throughout their life history. Nearshore areas are often critical spawning and nursery grounds that provide shelter and forage for numerous species. Despite its significance, data describing the structural complexity of nearshore substrate within Lake Michigan is lacking. We used an EdgeTech 4125 dual frequency side scan sonar (400/900 kHz) to collect high resolution substrate data near historical yellow perch spawning grounds in Illinois waters of Lake Michigan. Chesapeake Technologies SonarWiz 5 was used to create a geo-referenced mosaic of side scan transects and substrate types were distinguished by differing backscatter characteristics. A geographic information system (GIS) was used to isolate and quantify substrate areas. Quantification and qualification of substrate types paired with biological data will provide a complete picture of the nearshore habitat and expand our understanding of the role it plays in structuring the nearshore community.
Tags: Great Lakes, Habitat, Technology/Geographic Information Systems, Freshwater Fish, Survey Methods
Simulation of Asian Carp Egg Transport and Larval Dispersal in the Illinois River Below Starved Rock Lock and Dam
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: James J. Duncker, U.S. Geological Survey; Tatiana Garcia, U.S. Geological Survey
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: In early June 2015, widespread rainfall over northeastern Illinois produced a rising flood event and warm water temperature that resulted in observed spawning of Asian carp in the Illinois River below Starved Rock Lock and Dam near Utica, Illinois. High densities of Asian carp were observed spawning in turbulent water for several miles below the lock and dam. The Fluvial Egg Drift Simulator (FluEgg) model was used to simulate the transport and dispersal of silver Hypophthalmicthys molitrix and bighead Hypophthalmicthys nobilis carp eggs from this spawning location. The model simulates the development of the eggs into larvae through the gas bladder inflation stage, at which point larvae seek nursery habitat. By using model results and aerial photography of the Illinois River, it can be determined if suitable nursery habitat is available where the larvae are seeking it. The input file for FluEgg was generated using hydraulic and water-quality data collected over a 40+ mile reach of the Illinois River during the spawning event. The hydraulic data consisted of a combination of acoustic Doppler current profiler data and estimated hydraulic parameters based on local streamgaging station data. The water-quality data consisted of near-surface water temperature collected during the event. Results illustrate the longitudinal distribution of both eggs at hatching time and larvae at gas bladder inflation. The location of the trailing edge of the larvae at gas bladder inflation was used to identify river reaches with potential shallow water nursery habitat for Asian carp larvae. This information is useful for the application of potential control strategies to target the early life stages of Asian carp.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Fisheries Techniques
Impacts of European Frog-Bit Invasion On Great Lakes’ Wetland Macroinvertebrate Communities
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Trevor Dunn*, Devin Daly, Ashley Moerke - Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: European frog-bit Hydrocharis morsus-ranae is a relatively new invader to the Great Lakes and in 2013 it was found established in wetlands of the St. Marys River, a Great Lakes connecting channel. Frog-bit is a rapidly growing floating plant that forms large dense mats and is capable of regrowth via fragmentation. These traits allow it to invade and establish quickly, potentially competing with native macrophytes and altering biodiversity in coastal wetlands. This threat poses a need for more information on the impacts associated with frog-bit invasions. The primary objectives of this study were to quantify differences between: 1) water quality (i.e. pH, DO, conductivity) and organic matter, and 2) the composition of macroinvertebrates in frog-bit invaded and non-invaded coastal wetlands. In July, 2015 samples were collected from 12 wetlands 6 reference and 6 invaded with frog-bit, in Munuscong Bay (St. Marys River, Lake Huron). Water quality (e.g., pH, DO) was measured in situ and organic matter content was determined by ash-free-dry-mass. Macroinvertebrates were collected using standardized sweeps with d-frame dipnets and identified to lowest taxonomic level. Frog-bit invaded sites had significantly lower macroinvertebrate abundance (120.6 ± 12.6) compared to reference sites (154.5 ± 3.3). Although there was no significant difference in taxa richness between sites. Our findings suggest that this recent invade, European frog-bit, may be altering biodiversity of Great Lakes’ coastal wetlands and control measures may be necessary for conservation of these important ecosystems.
Tags: Wetland, Exotic/Invasive Species, Invertebrate, Habitat, Restoration/Enhancement
Effects of Electroshocking and Tagging On Brook Trout and Rainbow Trout in an Artificial and Natural Setting
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jacob Bowman; Jill Leonard, Biology Dept., Northern Michigan University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Shocking and tagging are two common fish sampling techniques that are used by fisheries biologists. The physical effects on fish by these techniques have been studied extensively, but behavioral effects are less understood. Brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and rainbow trout Oncorhynchus mykiss were electroshocked and tagged in the Little Garlic River in Marquette County MI and brook trout in an artificial laboratory stream were also either electroshocked and tagged, tagged, or handled without marking. In each setting fish were viewed with a GoPro camera and recordings were examined for feeding, tail beat frequency and aggressive interactions. Fish that were not electroshocked shocked and tagged or just tagged displayed higher dominance (P=0.012). The size ranked dominance hierarchy that has been viewed in stream trout was not apparent after the treatment was applied. Tail beat frequency was higher in fish that were shocked and tagged in the Little Garlic River (P=0.001) This study suggests that shocking and tagging has a behavioral effect and can alter dominance status.
Tags: Behavior, River/Stream, Survey Methods
Unequal Swimming Abilities of Prairie Fishes and Consequent Threats To The Stream Ecosystem: Impacts of Lost Connectivity Within Lotic Networks
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Paige C. Ellsensohn, South Dakota State University; Jordon D. Redmond, South Dakota State University; David A. Schumann, South Dakota State University; Katie N. Bertrand, South Dakota State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Prairie streams are dynamic systems wherein habitat patches are sporadically created and lost as a result of regular hydrologic variability. Erratic hydrologic disturbances and extreme environmental pressures impact fish assemblage structure through regulation of species abundance and distribution. Local extirpation is a common phenomenon and species persistence is dependent on life history traits allowing for dispersal over large areas. In this framework, fish movement is important to population maintenance and critical to the recolonization of extirpated areas. Loss of connectivity throughout lotic networks has severed historic pathways and increased local extinction risk which may impair local ecosystem function. To describe the susceptibility of small-bodied fishes to stream fragmentation and the consequent risk to ecosystem function, species-specific swimming abilities of four ecologically important plains fishes was quantified. Species evaluated represent unique functional feeding guilds that have potentially different effects on ecosystem structure and function; selected species were brassy minnow Hybognathous hankinsoni, central stoneroller Campostoma anomalum, white sucker Catostomus commersonii, and Iowa darter Etheostoma exile. Fish swimming performance was evaluated with the endurance test protocol described by Peake et al. (1997), wherein individuals were forced to swim at a fixed velocity until fatigued using a 100-L Brett-type swim tunnel. Diverse swimming abilities of species evaluated reveal the variable susceptibility of prairie fishes to population fragmentation by anthropogenic barriers. Species that demonstrated weaker swimming abilities are potentially less tolerant of lost stream connectivity and unable to bypass barriers, providing opportunity to alter ecological structure and function by severing recolonization pathways. Continued interruption of lotic corridors will negatively impact local assemblage structure by favoring colonization of stronger swimming species, potentially impairing ecological processes of prairie streams. Future barrier mitigation activities will benefit from this increased understanding of fish swimming ability as it relates to fish ranging behaviors and subsequent changes to local system ecology.
Tags: River/Stream, Freshwater Fish, Landscape Ecology
Length-Weight Relationships and Relative Condition For 23 Illinois Stream Fish
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Carl A. Favata*, Eastern Illinois University; Shannon C.F. Smith*, Eastern Illinois University; Anabela Maia, Eastern Illinois University; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Length-weight relationships and measures of condition are essential tools for stock management. These metrics provide useful baselines for comparisons within and between populations and allow for estimations of growth. Small streams and rivers make up the majority of river miles within the Midwest and have suffered considerable loss, creating a need for better management of this vast resource. Like their counterparts in other regions of the country, many lotic systems in the Midwest have been caught up in a recent frenzy of river and stream restoration. East-central Illinois has proven to be a valuable area for river and stream restoration research; two rivers have low-head dams slated for removal and an agricultural stream has experienced recent habitat restoration. We evaluated fish from these three human-impacted reaches to obtain length-weight relationships and relative condition indices. Fish were sampled with a variety of gears including DC and AC electrofishing gears, mini-fyke nets, and seine nets during spring and fall sampling seasons. We present data collected on 127,214 fish comprising 23 species and seven taxonomic families. Significant length-weight relationships were found for each species presented. We developed 95% confidence intervals for each species to predict mean weights for any given length. Relative condition was estimated for each species within the context of these impacted waterways. This demographic information could prove useful to researchers desiring comparisons between populations in human-impacted reaches of Midwestern streams and other regions. These descriptive findings include data from vital non-game fish species presently lacking standard weight equations in the literature.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, River/Stream, Management
Assessment of Shoreline Restoration Sites in the St. Clair-Detroit River System
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jason L. Fischer, Edward F. Roseman, Ellen O’Neil, Kevin Keeler, Dana Castle, Stacey Ireland, Stacy Provo, Carson Prichard, Ryan Young, Paige Wigren, Ethan Acromite, Nathan Williams, Jenny Sutherland, Robert Hunter, Emily Galassini, Jake Magier - USGS
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Like many large rivers throughout the U.S., the St. Clair River has undergone significant anthropogenic modifications. Development along the shoreline has hardened and steepened the banks disrupting the aquatic-terrestrial transition zone and reducing the availability of shallow water habitat. Loss of fish and wildlife habitat is listed as a beneficial use impairment to the St. Clair River and increasing riparian connectivity through softened shorelines is a main objective of the St. Clair-Detroit River System Initiative. To address this objective, select locations of the St. Clair River shoreline were softened and shallow water areas were re-established. To evaluate the effectiveness of these restoration projects, we conducted a multifaceted monitoring approach, allowing us to assess the use of these areas by multiple species and life history stages of those species. Sampling included egg collections to determine use by spawning fishes, light trapping to target larval fishes, and collections of adults and juvenile fishes and mudpuppies using minnow traps, backpack electrofishing, and micromesh gillnets. Few fish eggs and larvae were collected in the spring, although larvae of serial spawning fishes (e.g., Gobiidae and Cyprinidae) were readily collected in the summer months. Use of multiple gears also allowed a variety of species to be collected. Mudpuppies Necturus maculosus and hornyhead chubs Nocomis biguttatus were frequently observed in minnow traps, but rainbow darters Etheostoma caeruleum and mottled sculpins Cottus bairdii were only observed through electrofishing. This work provides a framework for assessment of shoreline restoration sites targeting multiple species and life stages.
Tags: Restoration/Enhancement, River/Stream, Great Lakes, Habitat, Survey Methods
Use of Macroinvertebrate Assemblages and Habitat Assessments as Bioindicators of River Health
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Kelly Forbus*, Eastern Illinois University; Shannon C.F. Smith, Eastern Illinois University; Trent Thomas, Illinois Department of Natural Resources; Scott Meiners, Eastern Illinois University; Rob Colombo, Eastern Illinois University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Dams have altered the flow regime, water quality, habitat heterogeneity, and connectivity of rivers throughout the Midwestern United States; however, the impact of small low-head dams on habitat and biotic community structure is poorly understood. Because of their ease of capture, taxonomic richness, and varied life histories macroinvertebrate community structure is a common bioindicator used to assess ecosystem health. This study quantified the habitat quality and macroinvertebrate community structure above and below two dams located in the Vermilion and North Fork Vermilion rivers, near Danville, IL. Six sites were sampled in each river including two sites below each dam, two pool sites above each dam, and two upstream sites located beyond each dam’s influence. Habitat quality was estimated using the Ohio Qualitative Habitat Evaluation Index (QHEI). Macroinvertebrates were sampled using a modified 20-jab method along both banks and within the main channel of each site and macroinvertebrate biotic indices were calculated as a measure of assemblage health. Habitat quality differed among site types (P < 0.05). Sites above the influence of the dams had the highest habitat quality, whereas pooled sites had the lowest. A total of 2,612 macroinvertebrates comprising of 22 taxonomic families was identified. The MBI scores on average were better for upstream sites (5.13) compared to either pool (6.03) or downstream sites (5.16). The sites located in pool areas displayed the worst scores overall. The two low-head dams in these systems are impacting both the habitat quality and biotic community structure with the largest impacts seen in sites adjacent to the dams.
Tags: Invertebrate, River/Stream, Habitat
A Consistent Binational Watershed Delineation and Hydrography Dataset For The Great Lakes Basin
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Danielle K. Forsyth*, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Catherine M. Riseng, University of Michigan; Kevin E. Wehrly, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Lacey A. Mason, University of Michigan; John Gaiot, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Tom Hollenhorst, United States Environmental Protection Agency; Craig M. Johnston, United States Geological Survey; Conrad Wyrzykowski, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Gust Annis, The Nature Conservancy; Chris Castiglione, United States Fish and Wildlife Service; Kent Todd, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Mike Robertson, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry; Dana M. Infante, Michigan State University; Lizhu Wang, International Joint Commission; James E. McKenna, United States Geological Survey; and Gary Whelan, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The availability of consistent, binational datasets is critical to the management of natural resources, especially water resources, in the Laurentian Great Lakes Basin. A current, consistent hydrology dataset is essential for addressing binational monitoring, assessment, and hydrologic modeling needs in the region. The ability to quantify and compare hydrologic and landscape-scale data for watersheds that stretch across multiple jurisdictions is of particular importance so that changing environmental conditions and indicators can be better tracked across the U.S. and Canada. Using comparable data sources and consistent methods, nested stream networks, reach catchments, and watershed boundaries were derived for the binational extent of the basin. The Great Lakes Hydrology Dataset (GLHDv1.0) was produced, comprised of spatially equivalent watershed boundaries and hydrology layers for the U.S. and Canadian portions of the Great Lakes Basin. The utility of the watershed dataset was demonstrated by comparing key landscape data for Great Lakes Basin watersheds. This watershed GIS layer builds upon previous watershed boundary efforts for the region while incorporating unique features, creating an updated watershed layer for regional projects requiring consistent, binational hydrology data, and providing managers and researchers with a needed tool to identify and quantify changing resources in the basin.
Tags: Great Lakes, Landscape Ecology, Technology/Geographic Information Systems, Habitat
Developing Predictive Framework For Otolith Chemistry in the Lake Michigan Basin
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Chantelle Fortier*, Central Michigan University; Kevin Pangle, Central Michigan University, Biology Department; Anthony Chappaz, Central Michigan University, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Jory Jonas, Michigan DNR
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The chemical signatures of otoliths (ear stones) can provide a record of the origin and movement of fish, and can potentially be a powerful tool for fisheries management. The assumption behind this approach is that elemental distributions should be governed by the composition of water in which fish reside. However, this hypothesis has never been tested through a rigorous comparison between otolith signature, water chemistry and fish location. The goal of our study was to identify gradients in the water chemistry across the Lake Michigan basin. Water was sampled from tributaries in Wisconsin and the Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan and analyzed using for concentrations of major and minor elements, anions and dissolved organic carbon. We focused on concentrations of particular elements (e.g., strontium and barium) that are readily incorporated into the calcium carbonate matrix of the otolith. In addition, the otolith chemistry of juvenile steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss collected from our study tributaries was also analyzed using laser-ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and related to water chemistry. Our results revealed significant difference in water chemistry among our study tributaries in key elements and that these differences could be predicted using statistical and thermodynamic models based on spatial proximity, surficial and bedrock geology, and surrounding land use. Further, the water’s chemical signature was highly correlated with that observed in the steelhead otoliths, verifying this important connection. These findings provide further evidence of utility of otolith chemistry in the Great Lakes basin and advances predictive framework for water and otolith chemistry based on watershed characteristics.
Tags: Technology/Geographic Information Systems, Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes, River/Stream, Modeling
Developing a New Methodology to Detect Microplastics in Aquatic Organisms
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Rachel Frey, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University; Dr. Ashley Moerke, School of Biological Sciences, Lake Superior State University; Dr. Dom Chaloner, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame; Dr. Matthew Leevy, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Microplastic particles ( < 5mm ) are polluting the world’s lakes and oceans, and are effecting aquatic organisms that mistake them for a viable food material. Current detection methods such as dissection and microscopic analysis are time consuming and labor intensive. Here, we investigated a new methodology to detect microplastics in aquatic organisms using fluorescence optical imaging (2D) and CT (3D) scans. Further, we determined detection thresholds for different types of microparticles both in solution and in whole fish. Known quantities (10-10,000 microparticles) of 4 different microplastics-(polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene and PLA) were placed in solution and inside whole juvenile Atlantic salmon and scanned using multiple florescence filters on a Bruker Xtreme image station, and Albira CT scanner. Number and area of particles (or fluorescence) were quantified from scanned images. Our preliminary findings suggest that microplastics have novel fluorescence signatures within and among microplastic types which may be due to varying particle size and dye. Implications of differences in percent recovery of known particles for each microplastic also will be discussed further. The findings of this study may provide a more efficient approach to microplastic detection in freshwater and marine environments.
Tags: Great Lakes, Freshwater Fish
Intersex Condition In Male Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, and Black Crappie From The Illinois River Waterway
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Mark W. Fritts, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Jason A. DeBoer*, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Andrea K. Fritts, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; Richard M. Pendleton, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign;Levi E. Solomon, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; T.D. VanMiddlesworth; Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign; and Andrew F. Casper, Illinois River Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Intersex condition, the presence of both male and female characteristics in individuals of a normally gonochoristic species, has been documented in many watersheds among a diverse variety of fishes. Previous researchers indicated that a suite of endocrine disrupting chemicals are strongly associated with the occurrence of intersex. Although natural rates of intersex condition in wild fishes vary substantially, additional studies in highly developed, mixed-use watersheds are important to our understanding of this condition in riverine fishes. The Illinois River Watershed is subject to the effects of urban development in its headwaters located in the Chicago Metropolitan Area, and to intense agricultural cultivation throughout the rest of the watershed. Despite the negative effects of pollution on aquatic life during the early 20th century, environmental reforms during the last 50 years have led to improved water quality in the Upper Illinois River Waterway (IRW) and the native fish community has responded favorably. However, developing understandings of new threats—like contaminants of emerging concern—pose new questions about the sustainability of riverine fish populations and safe consumption standards for human users. Our objective was to survey the occurrence and severity of intersex in male largemouth bass, bluegill, and black crappie from a riverine gradient extending from Joliet to Bath, IL. Early histological assessments indicated that testicular oocytes were present in 41% of largemouth bass collected from the Upper Illinois River Waterway. Our study represents an important contribution to the understanding of riverine fish reproductive ecology, particularly in ecosystems with a history of environmental disturbance and recovery such as the IRW.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Physiology, River/Stream
Connections Between Predatory Cladocera of the St. Clair-Detroit River System
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Emily Galassini *USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Edward F. Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Kevin Keeler, USGS Great Lakes Science Center and Dept. Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Historically, the predatory cladoceran Leptodora kindtii was the main predatory zooplankter within the Great Lakes basin. However, introduced invasive predatory cladocerans such as the spiny waterflea Bythotrephes longimanus and fishhook waterflea Cercopagis pengoi altered the dynamics between prey zooplankton species as well as predators such as Leptodora. The St. Clair-Detroit River System connects Lake Huron and Lake Erie, and zooplankton are transported from the Upper Great Lakes to the Lower Great Lakes. Yet, interactions between zooplankton in the system are not well understood. Herein, we analyzed the relationship between native and non-native predatory cladocerans as well as their impacts on other zooplankton taxa. From April through December 2014, we analyzed zooplankton samples across 13 sites from Southern Lake Huron through the St. Clair-Detroit River System into western Lake Erie. In spring 2014, Leptodora was found in the Detroit River and Lake Erie while Bythotrephes was found only in the St. Clair River. In summer 2014, Bythotrephes was continually absent from the Detroit River and Lake Erie while Leptodora was found throughout the entire system. In fall 2014, Bythotrephes was found in the entire system except for Lake Erie and Leptodora was only found in the Detroit River in low abundance (<1 / m3) and biomass (2 µg/ m3). Continued assessment of zooplankton will help elucidate the role of these predatory cladocerans in the zooplankton community.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Population Dynamics, Great Lakes, River/Stream
Utility of The FluEgg Model For Assessing Grass Carp Spawning Grounds and Nursery Habitat
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Tatiana Garcia*, USGS-Illinois Water Science Center; Patrick M. Kocovský, USGS-Lake Erie Biological Station
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The recent capture of young, diploid grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella provided indirect evidence of successful spawning in the Sandusky River. Eggs sampled in 2015 (see Embke et al. poster, this meeting) confirmed spawning occurs, but there is no clear observed evidence of the location of their spawning grounds and nursery habitat. Knowing where spawning might occur, and where larval habitat exists, will inform risk assessments and help guide efforts for sampling larvae. In light of this, the Fluvial Egg Drift Simulator (FluEgg), was used to simulate several potential spawning scenarios. The FluEgg model incorporates not only the egg biologic characteristics, but also water temperature and flow characteristics as variables. We used two potential spawning locations, the upstream limit at Ballville dam and ~3 km downstream where turbulent flows are common, and several potential flow scenarios using historic USGS streamgage data, to project probability of eggs hatching, and where larvae would hatch and require nursery habitat. This preliminary assessment of the location of potential spawning grounds and nursery habitat illustrates an example of the utility of the FluEgg model as a tool for planning sampling to detect spawning of grass carp and other Asian carp species with similar early life history needs. Knowledge of spawning and rearing locations will be useful to management agencies for development of control strategies within an integrated pest management framework.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, River/Stream, Great Lakes, Habitat, Modeling
Ontogenetic Changes in Swimming Speed of Silver Carp Larvae
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Amy E. George*, Columbia Environmental Research Center, USGS; Tatiana Garcia, Illinois Water Science Center, USGS; Duane C. Chapman, Columbia Environmental Research Center, USGS; Benjamin H. Stahlschmidt, Columbia Environmental Research Center, USGS
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Silver carp are invasive in the waterways of central North America. Early life stages must be explored and understood to better predict recruitment potential recruitment in tributaries of the Great Lakes. Modeling larval dispersal has been challenging due to sparse information on swimming capacity during these early life stages. We explored ontogenetic changes in routine and maximum swimming speeds of silver carp larvae for at least two weeks after hatching. Daily measurements of routine swimming speed were taken for two weeks using a still camera and custom image analysis software. Larval swimming speed was calculated using the larvae location in pairs of consequent images taken at regular time intervals. Using an endurance chamber, we found the maximum speed of larvae for eight weeks post fertilization. During the initial two week period, larval swimming speeds increased with ontogeny, and the relationship between size and swimming speed was inconsistent. This initial two weeks represents the time period that larvae leave the main channel of a river in search of nursery habitat. In the latter six weeks of the experiment, individual larval speed was more variable, but average speed of all larvae was more consistent over time. Knowledge of swimming capacity, along with hydraulic characteristics of a river, enables further refinement of larval drift models.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Behavior, Freshwater Fish
Assessing Macroinvertebrate Assemblages: The Efficiency and Effectiveness of Qhei, and Quality Habitat Sampling
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Samuel J. Gradle*, Eastern Illinois University; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University; Charles L. Pederson, Eastern Illinois University; Jeffrey R. Laursen, Eastern Illinois University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Over the past three years, different macroinvertebrate sampling strategies were implemented in the Sangamon River above and below the effluent discharge of Decatur’s sanitary district near Decatur, IL. In 2013, a proportional sampling 20-jab method based on QHEI was used. Samples were dominated by large numbers of Chironomidae and Corixidae, overall richness was low and there was no significant difference in assemblages between the reaches. The Sangamon River is dominated by fine substrates, so the 20-jab method oversamples these typically deprecate microhabitats. In 2014, a semi-qualitative habitat approach, similar to that used by the IL RiverWatch, was used. In this method, we sampled the 4 best microhabitats in the reach in an effort to more effectively assess rare but typically more productive microhabitats. Macroinvertebrate assemblages from 2014 qualitative sampling differed from 2013 objective samples, but this could have been due to environmental differences between years. From visual observation there were little differences in richness, EPT taxa, or MIBI between the reaches in 2014. An enhanced qualitative approach has currently been adopted in 2015 in an attempt to better gauge the importance of microhabitat types to macroinvertebrate assemblages in the Sangamon River. In this approach we replicate sampled from five different microhabitats (riffles, fine sediments, root wads, snags, and leaf packs) at six different sites (three upstream of effluent discharge, three below). Samples from the 2015 collection are being processed.
Tags: Ecology, Invertebrate, River/Stream, Habitat, Survey Methods
Modeling Population Genetic Response To Isolation and Drift: A Case Study Using Dams and Freshwater Mussels (Bivalvia: Unionida)
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jordan R Hoffman*, Central Michigan University; Bradley J Swanson, Central Michigan University; Kevin L Pangle, Central Michigan University; Janna R Willoughby, Purdue University; David T Zanatta, Central Michigan University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Population genetic analyses of species inhabiting fragmented landscapes have become essential tools for conservation. Habitat fragmentation can split populations across habitat patches, decreasing or even halting dispersal and gene flow. These isolated populations develop greater genetic structure over time as a result. Occasionally, analyses of fragmented populations find no evidence of isolation, even though a barrier to dispersal seems apparent. In some cases, the dispersal ability of the species in question may have been underestimated, or the patches may not be as isolated as expected. In other cases, it is possible that not enough time has passed to successfully identify divergence of isolated populations due to genetic drift. Long-lived species with strongly overlapping generations may be particularly subject to this lag in genetic response to isolation. Failing to consider this quality of such organisms during population structure analyses could result in incorrect conclusions about the impact of fragmentation on the species. A model was created to explore how generation time influences the population genetics and structure of isolated populations over time. This iterative model tracks simulated populations of variable generation time and effective population size as affected by drift alone, using freshwater mussels as model organisms. Different freshwater mussel species vary in generation time by an order of magnitude, making them appropriate model organisms for this model. These taxa are also highly imperiled and exhibit fragmentation by dams throughout the range of many species. Results indicate it takes more time to observe structure as a result of fragmentation by dams in long-lived mussels than most North American dams have existed. Larger effective population sizes and longer generation times increase the time needed for significant divergence to occur. This study will help illuminate the factors that influence genetic responses by populations to isolation and provide important information for conservation-oriented research.
Tags: Genetics, Modeling, Invertebrate, Threatened and Endangered Species, River/Stream
Effects of Wastewater Effluent and a Dam On Fish Communities in the Sangamon River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Bethany Hoster*, Eastern Illinois Uniersity; David Petry, Friends of the Cheat; Sarah Huck, Illinois Natural History Survey; Clinton Morgeson, Illinois Natural History Survey; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Wastewater effluent and artificial impoundments, such as dams, on rivers impact water quality and cause altered flow regimes downstream. Although the impact of impoundments on the movement of fishes is widely studied, data is currently lacking on the combined effect of how a dam and wastewater effluent impact fish community structure. The Sangamon River is impounded in Decatur. The main sewage outflow of the Sanitary District of Decatur enters the Sangamon River approximately four miles downstream of the dam. We assessed the fish community structure in the Sangamon River using AC electrofishing in both 2013 and 2015 at sites above and below the wastewater effluent. Additionally, we assessed water quality parameters, including dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and conductivity, monthly. River discharge was recorded monthly. We found higher species diversity and evenness during 2015 compared to 2013. However, no differences in richness, evenness, or diversity were observed between above and below effluent sites. Shifts in relative abundances of families were observed between 2013 and 2015. Water quality data showed higher dissolved oxygen in 2013 than 2015 during the month fish samples were collected (P < 0.009). Data showed that water quality was homogeneous between above and below effluent sites when river discharge was above 200 cubic feet per second. 2013 and 2015 fish samples were collected with river discharges of 2500 and 1500 cubic feet per second, respectively. Although wastewater effluent does impact the water quality of the Sangamon River during periods of the year, data suggest that other factors may have influenced fish community structure during the time of sampling.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, River/Stream
Distribution and Population Characteristics of Unexploited Rock Bass Populations in Minnesota Rivers and Streams
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: John H. Hoxmeier*, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources; Douglas J. Dieterman, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources;
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Rock bass are an important sport fish in many regions of the Midwest. However, in Minnesota they are rarely sought after by anglers in streams and rivers. This gave us an opportunity to quantify unexploited populations of rock bass in terms of distribution, abundance, and growth. We randomly selected 56 streams in the Eastern Broadleaf Ecoregion in Minnesota to assess rock bass populations. To determine factors influencing rock bass, we also developed measures of steam size (mean width and drainage area), stream health (index of biotic integrity, IBI), and biotic interactions (smallmouth bass density). Rock bass were present in 30 (53.6%) of the streams sampled. Stream size did not affect distribution, catch per unit effort (CPUE), or growth of rock bass. CPUE was positively correlated with IBI score. Median CPUE in sites classified by the IBI as poor and fair was zero; whereas sites classified as good and excellent had a median CPUE above 5.5 rock bass per hour. Stream health was not a factor in determining growth of rock bass, but rather, growth was negatively influenced by smallmouth bass density. Stream health and biotic interactions had the largest influence on rock bass in the absence of angler harvest. Lastly, we identified quality rock bass populations that could provide recreational opportunities in Minnesota.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Population Dynamics, River/Stream
Comparison of Active and Passive Sampling Gears For Estimating Walleye Egg Deposition On Open-Lake Reefs
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Robert D. Hunter, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Jason Gostiaux, Sandusky Fisheries Research Unit; Cassandra J. May, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University; Chris Vandergoot, Sandusky Fisheries Research Unit; Edward F. Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Mark DuFour, University of Toledo; Elizabeth A. Marschall, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University; David Glover, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University; Stuart A. Ludsin, Aquatic Ecology Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Due to changes in sampling techniques over time, it is often necessary to establish relationships between differing gear types that allow for comparison of past and present collections. Towable benthic egg pumps (active sampling gear) and egg mats (passive gear) are two common sampling gears used to collect fish eggs. However, due to the manner in which they function, direct comparison of the numbers of eggs collected between gears is difficult. We evaluated the relationship between egg types and abundances using these gears with weekly-paired sampling on six open-lake reefs in western Lake Erie where walleye are known to spawn. Total abundance, viability, and developmental stage were examined for eggs collected from each gear type. We found significant positive correlations between total, live, and dead egg abundances from each gear. However, egg mats were 5.5 times more likely to capture live eggs, and twice as likely to capture stage-2 eggs as the egg pump. Because of differences in egg type collected by each gear, we contend that egg mats and egg pumps are relatable in terms of total egg abundance, and that examinations into egg survival and development using either method should be done with caution. The collection of eggs, and the ability to calculate density and deposition, is an important tool for fisheries managers who wish to assess temporal and/or spatial reproductive output. In Lake Erie, the relationship between egg collection gears will be especially helpful in relating past and recent egg collections.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Freshwater Fish, Survey Methods, Management, Restoration/Enhancement
Straying By Stocked Steelhead in Lake Erie: What Differentiates Strayers From Non-Strayers?
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jamie N. Justice*, Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University; Richard R. Budnik , Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University; Christopher T. Boehler, Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University; John R. Farver, Geology Department, School of Earth, Environment and Society Bowling Green State University; Jeffrey G. Miner, Aquatic Ecology & Fisheries Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, Bowling Green State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Natal philopatry is a well-known characteristic of salmonids. However, steelhead in Lake Erie have very little habitat for successful survival in tributaries because most tributaries have unsuitable temperature conditions during summer. Therefore, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York stock about 2 million age-1 steelhead into selected tributaries with the expectation that these fish will return as spawning adults to support each state’s stream fishery in fall and early spring. Using hatchery specific otolith chemistry signatures, we previously determined that straying adults (not from their state’s stocking program) occur at a rate of about 10-20% in tributaries of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. However, 75-85% of adult steelhead in New York tributaries (specifically Cattaraugus and Chautauqua creeks) were stocked as juveniles into Ohio and Pennsylvania tributaries. To determine if there are release-size characteristics of juvenile steelhead that relates to straying, we back-calculated length at first annulus for straying adult steelhead in New York tributaries and non-straying adult fish in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Straying adult steelhead were significantly smaller at first annulus (at stocking) compared to non-straying adults for both Ohio and Pennsylvania stocked fish (tested independently). Additionally, whereas New York stocks juvenile steelhead at approximately 125 mm TL, both straying and non-straying adult steelhead of New York origin averaged similar size to the larger fish (160-180 mm TL) stocked by Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Our results suggest that size grading of smolts and delaying stocking of small individuals may lead to better returns and more effective hatchery production.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes
Comparison of Zooplankton Communities During Harmful Algal Blooms in a Great Lakes Connecting Channel
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Kevin Keeler*, USGS Great Lakes Science Center and Dept. Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo; Edward Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Jenny Sutherland, USGS Great Lakes Science Center and Dept. Biology, Eastern Michigan University; Paige Wigren, Dept. Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Harmful algal blooms (HABs) are a widely publicized and common occurrence in Lake Erie while a less publicized, but still common phenomenon to the north in Lake St. Clair. The Detroit River connects these two lakes, providing transport for HABs and also important prey items for fish such as zooplankton. Despite the proximity and connectivity between the areas, there is little knowledge of HABs impact on zooplankton between or within the two lakes. Herein, we investigated changes to the zooplankton community before, during, and after periods of algal blooms in both Lake St. Clair and western Lake Erie, and assess the role of the Detroit River as a transport corridor passing zooplankton from one impaired area to the next. From April through December 2014, we collected zooplankton samples across two sites in Lake St. Clair, three throughout the Detroit River, and two in western Lake Erie. Comparisons will be made between each sampling location for abundance, biomass, and species diversity before, during, and after algal blooms. These analyses will provide a better understanding of not only the effect of HABs on zooplankton taxa, but the relationship of how the Detroit River functions as a conduit for lower trophic levels between upper and lower Great Lakes.
Tags: Great Lakes, Ecology, Invertebrate, River/Stream
Visual Sensitivity of Walleye Sander vitreus: A Comparison of Freshwater Fishes
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Trevor Keyler*, University of Minnesota Duluth; Thomas Hrabik, University of Minnesota Duluth; Kelly Harrington, University of Minnesota Duluth; Loranzie Rogers, University of Minnesota Duluth; Allen Mensinger, University of Minnesota Duluth
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Walleye Sander vitreus are crepuscular fish touted for their low-light visual acuity due to their predominant tapeta lucia, a retinal layer that reflects light back through the retina. Despite this anatomical feature, little is known about the scotopic (low-light) visual capabilities of these prized game fish. To investigate the role vision plays in the foraging behavior of walleye, electroretinography (ERG) was used to determine the spectral sensitivity of the species. For comparison, visual sensitivity data was also collected for two diurnal freshwater species, the yellow perch Perca flavescens and bluegill Lepomis macrochirus. Peak spectral sensitivity matched the down-welling light for freshwater lakes; walleye and bluegill sensitivity was highest at 525 nm (blue-green) while perch sensitivity was green-shifted peaking at 550 nm. Our results support the Sensitivity Hypothesis that states a species’ spectral sensitivity will match the spectrum of light available in its environment. Walleye spectral sensitivity was blue-shifted in general, perhaps owing to the deeper waters this species occupies compared to the red-shifted perch. Bluegill sensitivity was broad, owing to the shallower water this fish occupies where more of the visible spectrum is available for foraging and predator detection. Vision depth profiles were also created for each species based on the intensity to elicit an ERG response. Interestingly, we found that daytime irradiance allows for a visual response to a depth of 35 m for walleye but ~40 m for bluegill and perch (mesotrophic lake, kPar 0.5). The differences observed in scotopic vision are likely a product of the environment and prey of each species.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Physiology, Ecology
Modeling Distributions of Freshwater Mussels and Their Hosts Across The Upper Midwest To Achieve A Regional Conservation Perspective
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Timothy Lambert, Illinois Natural History Survey; Leon Hinz, Illinois Natural History Survey; Yong Cao, Illinois Natural History Survey
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Many resources devoted to conserving freshwaters are routed through states, but the connectivity of fauna, flora, and environmental conditions along river networks does not conform to state boundaries. Consequently, freshwater conservation actions benefit from coordination at the regional level. To inform a regional perspective for the management of freshwater mussels in the Upper Midwest, we modeled distributions of 10 threatened freshwater mussel species across four states: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin. We also modeled distributions of 11 key host species—10 fish and one salamander (mudpuppy)—in order to identify where mussel reproduction was likely to be limited by a scarcity of hosts. State-based agencies, including natural heritage programs and Departments of Natural Resources, contributed occurrence records for the selected aquatic species. We summarized species data at the resolution of confluence-to-confluence stream reaches defined by the National Hydrography Dataset (NHDPlusV1). Forty-two landscape predictors were selected to describe key characteristics of each stream reach’s watershed, including its climate, land use, surficial geology, topography, and size. With these species records and landscape predictor variables, we then predicted species occurrences using two machine learning methods: maximum entropy (MaxEnt) modeling for mussels and mudpuppy (presence-only data) and random forests classification for fish (presence-absence data). Resulting maps of mussel and host distributions provide a regional lens through which to view how well existing reserves and conservation easements protect key freshwater mussel habitat. This regional perspective can help managers to identify where they might coordinate with neighboring states to more effectively manage shared aquatic resources.
Tags: Invertebrate, Freshwater Fish, Modeling, River/Stream, Threatened and Endangered Species
A Comparison of Fish Communities in Contiguous Backwater and Vegetated, Impounded Areas of Pool 19, Upper Mississippi River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Eli G. Lampo, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; James T. Lamer, Department of Biological Sciences, Western Illinois University; Brent Knights, Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center, USGS; James Larson,Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center, USGS; Jon Vallazza,Upper Midwest Environmental Science Center, USGS
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Sedimentation in the impoundment behind a high-head dam (~10m; Lock and Dam 19) on the Upper Mississippi River near Keokuk, IA created a unique shallow-water ecosystem dominated by floating-leaf and submersed aquatic vegetation. The importance of these post-impoundment, vegetated areas for fish is not well understood. To increase our understanding, we compared the community structure, composition, and size structure of fish between these areas and contiguous backwaters in Pool 19. We sampled 180 randomly stratified sites over four, 6-week periods from May 19th- Oct 31st, 2014. We fished paired sets of tandem fyke (1/4 in. diameter mesh) and mini-fyke nets (1/8 in. diameter mesh) with standardized methods. We sampled 63,503 fish representing 64 species (48,879 fishes and 50 species from impounded sites and 14,624 fishes and 55 species from contiguous backwater sites). Species composition and structure were greatest in the impounded areas. These results suggest that as sediment continues to accumulate in Pool 19, the resultant aquatic vegetation and associated habitat for centrarchids, catastomids, and cyprinids will expand.
Tags: Population Dynamics, River/Stream, Freshwater Fish, Ecology
The Effects of Varying Durations of Formalin Fixation On Larval Fathead Minnow's Pimephales Promelas Genetic Cross Linking
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Ryan Leba*; Nathaniel Lederman
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Knowledge of early life history of fish is essential in the better understanding of the aquatic ecosystem and communities, allowing more effective monitoring and managing of fish populations. However; most larval fish samples and collections are both fixed and preserved in the field as the sorting and identification process is timely. Currently, the two most often used fixatives and preservatives when fixing larval larvae are 10% formalin solution or alcohol, however when using alcohol morphology is often lost due alcohol induced dehydration and when formalin is used DNA often becomes crosslinked and unusable. The United States Geological Services and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources currently use both methods as they first fix samples in a 10% formalin solution and 12 to 48 hours later preserve in 90% ethyl alcohol. This study aims determine if limiting exposure time to a formalin fixation prior to preservation in an ethyl alcohol solution will decrease the cross linking effects of formalin of a fathead minnow larvae’s genetics. It is hypothesized that the lowest amount of time of larvae fixation in 10% formalin provide researchers the most useful genetic segments. Larval fish were obtained from St. Cloud aquatic toxicology lab and then fixed in a 10% formalin solution for 12, 24 and 48 hours and then transferred into 90% ethyl alcohol. DNA was extracted from each larvae using the Dneasy blood and tissue DNA extraction kit. Polymerase Chain Reactions where used to amplify the DNA using the FishF2_t1 primer set. Gel electrophoresis was then ran on that extracted DNA from each individual larvae. Results were quantified based on percent successful amplification per treatment group and compared with an ANOVA. Results are pending as larvae were more difficult to breed and anticipated and had to be secured from alternate sources. This data may be useful for parties interested in preserving the genetic utility and limiting exposure to formalin.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Survey Methods, Freshwater Fish, Genetics, Statistics
Floodplain Inundation Mapping To Support Multi-Objective Restoration and Management of Conservation Lands On The Lower Missouri River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Garth Lindner, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The University of Missouri; Kristen Bouska, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The University of Missouri; Craig Paukert, U.S. Geological Survey, Missouri Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, The University of Missouri; Robert B. Jacobson, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Conservation lands within large river floodplains are difficult to manage due to constantly changing interactions with their rivers and anthropogenic alterations throughout river systems. These challenges are compounded when hydro-climatic stationarity cannot be assumed, and changing climate, land use, or water use combine to alter the timing, duration and magnitude of hydrologic events. Our objectives were to 1) engage land managers to identify science needs for long-term management of floodplain conservation lands and 2) evaluate inundation metrics for both the period of record and under scenarios of climate change. We surveyed managers of floodplain conservation lands along the Upper and Middle Mississippi River and Lower Missouri River to evaluate management priority, management intensity, and available scientific information for management objectives and conservation targets. Floodplain conservation lands were managed for multiple objectives, including public recreation, invasive species, endangered and threatened species, game species, bottomland forests, and minimizing conflicts with neighboring landowners. A follow-up workshop and survey focused on clarifying science needs. There was consensus among managers that metrics of inundation, including depth and extent of inundation, frequency of inundation, and duration of inundation, would be the most useful metrics for management of floodplain conservation lands. We then developed daily raster grids of floodplain depth along the lower Missouri River using HEC-RAS derived water surface elevations for 1960-2012. We synthesize the daily grids to generate composite grids of floodplain depth for flood return intervals and average duration of inundation per year. Our results may be useful for determining 1) locations for establishing vegetation communities, 2) locations of potential nursery and foraging habitats for fish and birds, and 3) floodplain functions such as nutrient cycling.
Tags: Climate, Habitat, Management, Restoration/Enhancement, River/Stream
Effects of Declining Alewife Populations On Lake Trout Diet and Recruitment in Lake Michigan
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Miles Luo*, University of Michigan; James Diana, University of Michigan
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Recent studies have shown that alewife Alosa pseudoharengus populations have declined in both Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. While current food web models exist for both lakes, little is known how the declining abundance of alewife will affect the both the recruitment and the diets of higher level predatory fish, especially for lake trout Salvelinus namaycush in Lake Michigan. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has been conducting the Coordinated Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI) on the Great Lakes, which follows a five year rotational cycle among the lakes. In collaboration with the USGS, we intend to examine the stomachs of fish that have been collected on Lake Michigan in 2015 to analyze how diets have changed since alewife populations have started declining. We will then compare these diet sample data with existing models of Great Lakes food webs to figure out how overall relationships between trophic levels in the lake have been changing. By determining these evolving interactions, we hope to aid fisheries managers to more accurately predict long-term effects on the populations of game fish and the aquatic food web as a whole.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Ecology, Great Lakes, Modeling, Population Dynamics
Micro-Plastics, Macro-Problem?
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Tim Malinich*, Purdue; Nathan Chou*, Purdue; Jon Houser, Purdue; Maria Sepúlvada, Purdue; Tomas Höök, Purdue
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Plastics have been found through Midwest waterways, and in particular micro-plastics, particles less than 500 µm, have been documented in high densities in the Great Lakes. The presence of these pollutants has spurred action in both scientists and politicians, resulting in a burst of research and state legislation to ban products containing plastic micro-beads. The impact of micro-plastics on freshwater systems is largely unknown. Some evidence has shown that adult fish and certain zooplankton may consume micro-plastics. However, it is less clear how larval fish will interact with micro-plastics. To this end, we conducted several experiments to investigate the potential for direct consumption of micro-plastics by larval fathead minnows Pimephales promelas. Our experiment tested 7 and 14-day old larval minnows with 4 densities of micro-bead plastics and a food item, Artemia nauplii and egg cysts. In addition, to examine any potential size selection two plastic micro-bead sizes were used, 180 µm and 425 µm (diameter). Our results showed that over 95% of larvae consumed only the true food items present and did not have any plastic beads present within their gut. The smallest bead size used was of a similar size to the Artemia egg cysts and larvae were found with cysts within their gut. While fathead minnows did not consume many micro-plastic beads, it is possible that they will strike at plastic particles. Micro-plastics may have indirect consequences on larval fish, if plastic densities are high enough that larvae must expend more energy foraging around the particles to find true food items.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes, Policy/Law
Use of An Ecosystem-Based Model To Predict The Effects of Non-Native Pacific Salmon Spawning On Stream-Resident Fish in a Great Lakes Tributary
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Lillian McGill*, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame; Brandon Gerig, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame; Dominic Chaloner, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame; Gary Lamberti, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Notre Dame
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Pacific Salmon Oncorhynchus spp. deliver organic material, including persistent organic pollutants (POPs), while imparting disturbance to stream ecosystems where they spawn and die. The extent to which organic material and disturbance from salmon spawners influence stream food webs in their non-native Great Lakes range may depend upon local biological, physical, and chemical characteristics (i.e., environmental context). To evaluate the effects of salmon on stream-resident fish, including native brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis and non-native brown trout Salmo trutta, we developed a mass-balance trophic model for a representative Michigan stream using the ecosystem modeling software Ecopath with Ecosim and Ecotracer. We calibrated our model using historical time series data of trout biomass and by comparing empirical POP concentrations, as a conservative tracer of salmon-derived nutrients and energy, in food web components to those derived using Ecotracer. We ran model simulations reflecting high, intermediate, and low levels of enrichment and disturbance using values from previous studies and reflecting changes from altered environmental context. We predicted that standing biomass of brook and brown trout would decrease in response to salmon spawner presence because salmon resource subsidies are insufficient to replace invertebrate biomass lost to sediment disturbance. We found that salmon effects on stream-resident fish varied substantially – decreasing trout biomass by ~40% or increasing trout biomass by ~20%, depending upon the relative levels of enrichment and disturbance. Additionally, brook and brown trout responded similarly to salmon spawner presence, likely due to similar diets. Overall, our model provides insights on the ecological role of introduced salmon in stream ecosystems, especially with respect to stream-resident fish. Furthermore, our study suggests that the influence of environmental context on the balance between enrichment and disturbance should be evaluated when making management decisions about salmon stocking in the Great Lakes.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, River/Stream, Modeling, Great Lakes, Ecology
Seasonal Fish Migration Patterns in Three Lake Superior Tributaries
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: John Milan*, School of Biological Sciences Lake Superior State University; Kevin Kapuscinski, School of Biological Sciences Lake Superior State University; Paul Ripple, Biological Services Department Bay Mills Indian Community; Ashley Moerke,School of Biological Sciences Lake Superior State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The numerous small tributaries that feed the Great Lakes likely play an important role for sustaining lake fish populations. In the Great Lakes, there are approximately 70 species known to spawn in rivers and streams, 19 of which are suggested to be obligate stream spawners. These tributaries provide critical habitat and a greater abundance of nutrients for the offspring of the fishes that use them for spawning. As important as these tributaries appear to be, very little information exists on the extent or duration to which they are used. The objective of this study was to document the spawning migration patterns (numbers and timing) of Lake Superior fishes using tributaries during spring, summer and fall seasons. To accomplish this, fyke nets were placed in three tributaries of Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior. Two nets were set back-to-back across each stream to capture in and out migrating fishes biweekly. All fish caught in the nets were identified, checked for gamete expression and secondary sexual characteristics, and measured for length and weight. Initial results showed catches of approximately 1,500-2,600 migratory fish in the three tributaries during the spring season. A total of 32 different species were caught during that time. The outcomes of this study will provide additional information on the importance of tributaries for Lake Superior fishes and provide baseline data to understand the potential impacts of climate change on the spawning phenology of Great Lakes fishes.
Tags: Behavior, Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes, River/Stream
Comparative Analysis of Aging Juvenile Steelhead: Scales Vs. Otoliths
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Carlie Money*, Central Michigan University; Nicole Watson, Central Michigan University; Kevin Pangle, Central Michigan University; Francesca Baker, Central Michigan University; Jory Jonas, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Effective management of steelhead Oncorhynchus mykiss depends on accurate measures of age, particularly during their juvenile stage in streams prior to out migration. Aging these fish has traditionally been performed through the analysis of scales. In this study, we compare aging techniques based on scales and sagittal otoliths to determine i) their accuracy and effectiveness when applied to juvenile steelhead, and ii) how this accuracy varied among different watersheds. Scales and otoliths were obtained from fish collected from 46 different tributaries representing a comprehensive sampling of the Lake Michigan basin. Scales were pressed onto acetate slides using a double-roller scale press to obtain a clean impression of the scale for viewing with a microfiche reader. Right sagittal otoliths were embedded into epoxy, thin sectioned, polished until the core was visible, and viewed under a dissecting microscope. Our results indicate strong agreement between scale- and otolith-derived age estimates, which was consistent across our study streams. These findings demonstrate the potential for flexibility in the choice of the structures used for aging juvenile steelhead particularly when samples are carefully prepared.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, River/Stream
GLATOS: Unraveling The Mysteries of Fish Behavior To Improve Management of Great Lakes Fisheries Now and in The Future
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Nancy A. Nate, Michigan State University-Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability-Hammond Bay Biological Station; Christopher M. Holbrook, U. S. Geological Survey-Hammond Bay Biological Station; Charles C. Krueger, Michigan State University-Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS) is a network of researchers tracking fish movements with acoustic telemetry in the Laurentian Great Lakes. Since 2010, GLATOS has fostered partnerships and project discovery through the GLATOS website and annual coordination meetings. These connections have extended the effective geographic range of individual studies by providing basin-wide access to fish detection data through sharing of data from acoustic receivers across all projects. As a new data node for the Ocean Tracking Network, GLATOS will further expand to provide information on fish detections outside of the Great Lakes basin. Currently GLATOS houses data from 24 acoustic telemetry projects representing 65 individual researchers from 20 agencies and universities across the U.S. and Canada. Through April 2015, more than 4500 fish representing 30 species have been tagged and released in the Great Lakes basin. GLATOS currents contains over 135 million total tag detections from over 1200 receiver stations, with 69 million tag detections matched to tagged fish in the GLATOS database. The GLATOS website includes an interactive map of receiver locations, and a mechanism for commercial and recreational fishers to report harvest of tagged fish and learn about on-going studies. Continued enhancement and development of GLATOS and the GLATOS website will support and inform local, regional, and international fishery management decision-making and policy development on issues such as native fish restoration, habitat protection, improving recreational fishing, and improving assessment and control of invasive species. GLATOS is administered by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, in partnership with the Great Lakes Observing System, and the U.S. Geological Survey and supported by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
Tags: Great Lakes, Fisheries Techniques, Behavior, Freshwater Fish, Management
The Evaluation of a Cost-Effective, Digital Approach To Estimate Fecundity in Freshwater Fishes
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Rich Pendleton*, Illinois Natural History Survey; Andrew Casper, Illinois Natural History Survey; Andrea Fritts, Illinois Natural History Survey; Mark Fritts, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jason DeBoer, Illinois Natural History Survey; Levi Solomon, Illinois Natural History Survey; T.D. VanMiddlesworth, Illinois Natural History Survey
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Determining the basic life-history of organisms greatly enhances our ecological understanding and ability to effectively conserve or manage species. However, oftentimes the resources and time needed to document expression of life-history traits can hinder our ability to understand the ecology of a species. Studies of species reproductive traits, such as fecundity, inform researchers and managers of the reproductive potential of a species and offer insight into population dynamics. However, traditional gravimetric methods of estimating fecundity in fishes can be costly and laborious to obtain accurate fecundity estimates. Using methodology developed for a marine fish, we evaluate a cost-effective, digital approach (i.e. auto-diametric) to estimate fecundity using free ImageJ software to determine the validity and accuracy of auto-diametric estimates relative to gravimetric estimates within freshwater systems. We collected three freshwater fishes within an environmentally heterogonous watershed to determine if estimation methodology (auto-diametric vs. gravimetric) is influenced by species, size of individual, or location. Preliminary analyses using largemouth bass, indicated a strong correlation between the methods (r2=0.85) and have shown the suitability of auto-diametric methods for enumerating oocytes in samples. We hypothesize auto-diametric methodology will be transferable to freshwater fishes and will provide accurate and more rapid fecundity estimates relative to traditional methods.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Ecology, Fisheries Techniques, Freshwater Fish, Habitat
Feasibility of Oxytetracycline Marking Juvenile White Bass: Mortality and Mark Visibility
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Matthew A. Perrion*, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Benjamin J. Schall, University of Nebraska at Kearney; Casey W. Schoenebeck, University of Nebraska at Kearney; and Keith D. Koupal, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Several species within the Moronidae family of fishes (striped bass Morone saxatilis and hybrid striped bass Morone saxatilis x Morone chrysops) have been successfully marked with oxytetracycline hydrochloride (OTC). However, limited information exists on the efficacy of marking white bass Morone chrysops with OTC. The objectives of this study were to determine if white bass could be successfully marked using OTC immersion with limited mortality and to quantify mark visibility on the sagittal otoliths of the white bass. Approximately 900 white bass (mean length = 37.5 mm) were utilized in the study; 100 white bass were used in each of three different replicated batch treatments of OTC solution: 0- (control), 350-, or 500-mg/L. Mortality estimates were taken at 6-, 24-, 48-, 72-, and 96 hours post-immersion. A subsample (n = 30) of white bass from each treatment were randomly selected for otolith extraction and viewing under a Nikon Eclipse 55i compound microscope with ultraviolet light. Six hours post-immersion, mortality varied between 0.0% and 6.1% for all treatments. Mean mortality ranged from 2.5% in the control to 3.0% in the 350 mg/L treatment at 6-hr post-immersion. Mark visibility was ranked on a scale of 0-3 with 0 representing no observable mark and 3 being a bright, highly visible mark. Mean mark score was higher in the 500 mg/L treatment (2.5) than the 350 mg/L treatment (2.0) (p<0.001). This study will benefit managers by determining if OTC marks represent a feasible option to batch mark large numbers of white bass with low mortality rates and visible marks to assess stocking success.
Tags: Culture, Freshwater Fish, Fisheries Techniques, Inland Lake/Reservoir
Larval Fish Assemblages Above and Below A Major Tributary Confluence Differ Spatially and Temporally on a Large River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jordan J. Pesik*, Eastern Illinois University; V. Alex Sotola, Eastern Illinois University; Sharon Rayford, US Fish & Wildlife-Santa Clara, CA; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Little is known about larval fish communities in riverine systems. Since larval fish assemblages have been shown to vary on localized spatial and temporal scales, we were interested in comparing assemblages in a large river with regards to the influence of a major tributary. The Wabash River is the twelfth longest river in the contiguous USA. It is also the longest unimpounded river East of the Mississippi River and the White River tributary effectively doubles the discharge of the Wabash at their confluence. Samples were collected by boat-mounted ichthyoplankton net for five minutes at eighteen sites along the lower 200 miles of the Wabash River. Catch per unit effort (number of fish per cubic meter, CPUE) was log-transformed for all analysis. We found there were significantly higher relative densities below the confluence than above (ANOVA, F1,610=23.873 p<0.001) and CPUE in spring was significantly higher than summer (ANOVA, F2,610=14.336 p<0.001). We also found relative densities by location above and below the confluence to be significantly affected by season (ANOVA, F1,610=18.460 p<0.001). Spring drove this difference with a larger relative density below the confluence than above. Of the 17 families sampled, only three displayed varying relative densities above and below the White River confluence and between seasons. The spatial and temporal differences in larval fish assemblages between the upper and lower reaches indicate fundamental differences in environmental characteristics that are preferred for larval development below the confluence with the White River.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, River/Stream, Population Dynamics, Ecology
Larval Fish Distortion Among Varying Durations of Alcohol and Formalin Solutions
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Endora Roberts, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Nathan Lederman, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Shannon Fisher, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Larval fish identification is a tedious and time consuming process. Therefore larvae are usually fixed and preserved for later analysis. Literature indicated that researchers are moving away from formalin as a fixative due to its carcinogenic nature. However, formalin remains the preferred option if preventing morphometric distortion is warranted. Studies have suggested that prior fixing in formalin could reduce the amount of morphometric distortion induced by the ethyl alcohol preservation. However, no mention of time or amount of distortion that occurred among fixation periods was mentioned. We assessed larval fish distortion as a result of varying 10% formalin fixation followed by preservation in 90% ethyl alcohol. Preliminary results show a significant (p < .05) difference between the 12 and 48 hour fixation in formalin, but no significant difference (P > 0.05) between the 24 and 48 hour fixation after being preserved in 90% ethyl alcohol. The 48 hour fixation period showed a greater distortion. The study is ongoing and being completed by the Minnesota State University, Mankato Subunit of the Minnesota Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. The final results are pending. However, these data may be useful for attempts to establish standardized larval fish sampling that protocols that preserve the morphological characteristics while also limiting exposure of employees to exposure to formalin.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Management, Survey Methods, Freshwater Fish
Population Demographics and Diets of Tubenose Goby Proterorhinus Semilunaris in the St. Clair-Detroit River System
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Edward F. Roseman*, Kevin Keeler, Timothy P. O’Brien, Jason E. Ross
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The Ponto-Caspian native tubenose goby Proterorhinus semilunaris was introduced into the Great Lakes via ballast water and discovered in the St. Clair River in 1990. Catches of tubenose goby have persisted in the St. Clair River since their discovery, although little information has been disseminated on their population demographics and food habits. We examined the age, growth, and diets of tubenose gobies collected in beach seine hauls from the St. Clair and Detroit rivers during late summer 2014. A total of 94 tubenose gobies were collected and were captured at 3 of 8 sites and 4 of 4 sites sampled in the St. Clair River and Detroit River, respectively. CPUE was highest in the Middle Channel of the St. Clair River (16.4/haul) and at Gross Ile in the Detroit River (3.5/haul). For both rivers, total length ranged from 12 mm to 63 mm and was exponentially related to preserved weight [weight (g) = 2e-06TL3.3488; r2 = 0.981]. An otolith increment analysis indicated ages ranged from 0 to 6 years. Otolith length was positively related to fish length (r2 = 0.897), but explained only 68% of the variability in age. Tubenose goby diets consisted of a variety of benthic invertebrates and zooplankton with Gammarus spp. and herbivorous cladocerans accounting for a majority of food items by weight. Alona spp., Eurycercus spp., and ostracods were numerically dominant in stomachs. Knowing the population demographics and food habits may be important to better understand the ecological impacts of the invasive tubenose goby and other benthic fish species at risk of invading the Great Lakes.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Exotic/Invasive Species, Great Lakes
Spatial and Temporal Patterns of Age-0 Fish in Western Lake Erie Aid Understanding of Individual Spawning Group Production
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jason E. Ross*, U.S. FWS Ashland FWCO; Edward F. Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Jeremy Pritt, ODW Inland Fisheries Research Unit; Robin L. DeBruyne, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Jason Fischer, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Mark DuFour, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center; Richard Kraus, USGS Great Lakes Science Center; Christine Mayer, University of Toledo Lake Erie Center; Jeff Tyson, ODW, Lake Erie Fisheries Research Unit
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Fish populations in large lakes often support discrete spawning groups that spatially cohere during age-0 life stages. Monitoring age-0 fish of individual spawning groups through space and time could provide a better understanding of factors influencing recruitment. We used long-term data from monthly bottom-trawl assessments in western Lake Erie to (1) analyze spatial and temporal patterns of age-0 fishes to (2) determine areas to monitor age-0 fish abundances of individual spawning groups. Lastly (3), we compared trends of the individual spawning group relative abundances with lake-wide abundance indices. A hotspot analysis revealed high variability in spatial and temporal patterns of walleye Sander vitreus, yellow perch Perca flavescens, gizzard shad Dorosoma cepedianum, and emerald shiners Notropis atherinoides. However, bottom trawl locations near known spawning areas were consistent hotspots during June and could be used to index the contributions of individual spawning stocks to Lake Erie populations, with minimal overlap of individual stocks. The relative abundances of individual spawning stocks varied across years and among stocks, but fluctuated similarly to the lake-wide indices. Emerald shiners did not have regular patterns due to their pelagic spawning behavior and we were unable to estimate relative abundances of individual spawning groups. Knowing the spatial and temporal patterns of age-0 fish provides fisheries managers with a better understanding of the production of individual spawning groups.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Landscape Ecology, Great Lakes, Population Dynamics
Larval Fish Assemblages of Three Major Tributaries of The Illinois River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Daniel Roth*, Eastern Illinois University; Clinton Morgeson, Illinois Natural History Survey; David Wahl, Illinois Natural History Survey; Robert E. Colombo, Eastern Illinois University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The highly dynamic nature of riverine ecosystems both spatially and temporally is a major determining factor of biotic assemblages. Larval fish are highly susceptible to the stochasticity of lotic systems, yet little is known regarding the conditions that lead to successful development of this critical life stage. We sought to define what conditions led to larval fish assemblage variation in five tributaries of the Illinois River. From April to October of 2014 we sampled larval fish using a boat-mounted conical icthyoplankton push net fitted with 500 micrometer mesh. The tributaries were sampled at sites near their confluence with the Illinois River with three five-minute net pushes in an upstream direction, in the left, middle, and right thirds of the channel. Over the course of our study we collected 2992 larval fish, of which, 80% were invasive Asian carp species in the genus Hypophthalmichthys. The remaining 20% was comprised of ten different families with the highest contributions from Cyprinidae and Clupeidae. Results of nonmetric multidimensional scaling of our data did not reveal significant spatial or temporal trends. However, the large density of larval Asian carp may have masked trends in larval assemblage variation. When Hypophthalmichthys species were removed from analysis we found both significant temporal and spatial variation in assemblage structure, which we linked to turbidity and temperature respectively. These results suggest that Asian carp reproduction may significantly impact larval fish assemblages of these rivers. It is imperative to consider explosive reproductive events as documented with Asian carp and the interspecific interactions within larval communities.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, River/Stream, Exotic/Invasive Species
Effects of Alternative Food Types On Larval Lake Sturgeon Body Size and Survival
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jenna Ruzich*, John Bauman, Kim Scribner; Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Resources and manpower required for successful fish culture in stream-side facilities can be costly based on feeding schedules and the food types used. Species such as lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens require multiple feedings per day to ensure adequate growth and high rates of survival. Larval lake sturgeon are typically fed live brine shrimp Artemia spp., which involves culturing and harvesting multiple times per day. If larvae are able to effectively feed on alternative food types, production costs could be substantially reduced. The effects of four food types, live brine shrimp (LBS), frozen (thawed) brine shrimp (FBS), decapsulated brine shrimp eggs (DBS), and a 1:1 frozen (thawed) brine and decapsulated egg mixture (FDBSM), on larval lake sturgeon body size and survival was examined for three weeks from the onset of exogenous feeding using individuals from two families. Larvae from both families fed a LBS diet had significantly higher survival compared to those fed alternate food types. Larvae fed LBS also had a significantly greater mass (weight) and total length (TL) than fish from other treatment types. Differences among families were observed for TL and survival. The results from this experiment suggest that larval lake sturgeon prefer live food; perhaps attributed to a vibratory response that elicits initiation of feeding. Additional research is needed pertaining to alternate ‘live’ food types (e.g., daphnia) that may decrease labor and production costs without compromising aquaculture production goals and fish quality.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Freshwater Fish, Nutrition, River/Stream, Behavior
The Effects of Salinity On Whiteleg Shrimp Litopenaeus Vannamei Growth
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Alexis Sakas; James Diana
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Various sources allude to the potential to grow whiteleg shrimp Litopenaeus vannamei in freshwater, but fail to present definitive measures regarding its impact on shrimp growth. Therefore, we chose to examine the effects of this single variable, salinity, on long-term growth in typical shrimp growout conditions using recirculating aquaculture systems. Growth was measured in 3 salinities, freshwater (0.4-0.5 ppt), brackish water (11.5-12.5 ppt), and salt water (34.5-35.5 ppt), via an experiment over a 3 month period. Based on preliminary results, shrimp in salt water conditions experienced the highest survival (91%), but with low growth rates (0.003 g/d), while shrimp in brackish tanks grew twice as fast (0.006 g/d) with a comparable survival rate (88%). Freshwater tanks had growth rates better than those of salt water (.004), but low survival over the first month (64%). Acclimation at a later stage may reduce this high initial mortality. Shrimp farmers may be willing to compensate with slightly slower growth rates for less maintenance costs through the use of freshwater in their aquaculture systems.
Tags: Culture, Fisheries Techniques
Swimming Performance Trends in North American Fishes
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Kurt Schoenherr, Wright State University - Lake Campus; Stephen J Jacquemin, Wright State University – Lake Campus
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Understanding swimming performance of freshwater fish has implications for conservation, management, and disentangling evolutionary patterns. However, many groups are underrepresented in the literature, hindering inference applicable to these focal areas. We used a meta-analysis technique to assess which groups are best represented in the literature and what trends can be gleaned relative to critical and burst swimming performance by family, physiology, and ecology. Compared with described species richness, the most well represented families include Salmonidae, Centrarchidae, and Catostomidae whereas the most underrepresented groups included Cyprinidae (with the exception of invasive taxa) and Percidae (with the exception of game taxa). Overall, we identified body size as the primary corollary of swimming performance for both sustained and burst swimming patterns. Model interaction terms suggest that this relationship varies in magnitude and significance across families. This implies that body size cannot be used as a universal surrogate for performance. Furthermore, this trend related to body size and familial differences becomes particularly relevant as the largest gaps in the literature are in Cyprinidae and Percidae, where most of the North American diversity in small bodied fishes is found. This signifies a need for additional swimming performance studies that focus on these areas. Herein we suggest a potential design and schematic for the construction of a low cost swimming performance chamber to facilitate additional data collection focused on underrepresented small bodied fishes.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Ecology
Impacts of Harmful Algal Blooms In Lake Erie On Recruitment of Young-of-Year Walleye and Their Prey
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Tomena Scholze*, Michigan State University; Edward Roseman, U.S. Geological Survey; William W. Taylor, Michigan State University; Nathan Williams, U.S. Geological Survey
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: In Lake Erie, variable walleye Sander vitreus fishery recruitment appears to be influenced by the recent increase in the size and frequency of harmful algal blooms (HABs). These blooms spatially and temporally overlap with age-0 walleye and larval prey fishes in the epilimnetic waters of the western basin. Where HABs are present, we hypothesized the initiation of a trophic cascade would be evidenced by a disruption in the food web dynamics in these areas. Consistent with a trophic cascade framework, HABs alter algal community species and size composition, limiting suitable-sized food particles for zooplankton, which in turn causes a shift in zooplankton community structure. This change in zooplankton availability directly impacts the growth and survival of prey resources available to larval fishes during their critical life stages, ultimately altering walleye fishery recruitment dynamics To assess the effect of HABs on walleye recruitment in Lake Erie, fisheries independent catch data for young-of-year walleye, clupeid and Notropis spp. from the USGS Lake Erie Biological Station Western Basin Trawl Survey and Great Lakes Fishery Commission Interagency Trawl Survey was analyzed for the years 2005-2015 and compared to the maximum observed bloom densities during the same years. We also conducted a field study to evaluate larval fish abundance in relationship to the zooplankton community and presence of harmful algae weekly at 14 sites in the western basin of Lake Erie from June through August 2015. Initial analysis indicates changes in larval fish relative abundance, length distribution, and zooplankton density and community structure along a gradient of HAB density. This suggests that HABs do initiate a trophic cascade, impacting the ability of larval fishes to obtain adequate food resources for growth, survival, and successful recruitment.
Tags: Ecology, Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes
Sediment Storage By Large Wood in a South Central Minnesota Stream
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Leander Scott*, Wartburg College; Chris Nicolet, Wartburg College; Lauren Larson, Wartburg College; Dr. Chris Lenhart, University of Minnesota; Dr. David McCullough, Wartburg College; Dr. Eric Merten, Wartburg College
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Wood is a critical component of aquatic systems, particularly in streams, where it not only provides habitat directly but also indirectly by transforming conditions nearby. An example of this transformation is sediment storage, where wood can store sediment wedges on the upstream side, whereas the sediment would otherwise be flushed downstream. Wood can also enhance the overall stability of stream channels. To examine sediment wedges and wood, we surveyed 542 pieces of wood in Seven Mile Creek near St. Peter, MN, an area identified by USACE as a substantial source of sediment. We used parametric statistics and Bayesian structural equation modeling to examine the data. Results indicated that wood elevation, burial, and angle related to wedge presence; bridging pieces were not uncommon and tended not to have sediment wedges. Our findings support the notion that bridging pieces provide little stream function, although we note as others have that bridging pieces represent important wood inputs (and potential sediment storage) of the future.
Tags: River/Stream
Changes in the Diets of Walleye Sander Vitreus in the Bays De Noc, Lake Michigan, USA: 1988-2014
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Alex X. Steinline*, Northern Michigan University; Troy G. Zorn, Michigan Department of Natural Resources; Jill B.K. Leonard, Northern Michigan University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: We analyzed walleye Sander vitreus diet data from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) annual assessments of Big and Little Bays de Noc in northern Lake Michigan for changes since the arrival of several invasive species. Since the assessments began in 1988 (1989 in Big Bay de Noc), the diets of walleye have shifted to primarily consumption of round gobies Neogobius melanostomus. In Little Bay de Noc, there was a significant decrease in rainbow smelt Osmerus mordax and insects in the diet, and a significant increase in gobies in the diet. Smelt occurrence in the diet fell from 18.7% in 1988-1993 to 0.65% in 2006-2013. Likewise, insect occurrence in the diet fell from 18.1% in 1988-1993 to 2.7% in 2006-2013. These decreases coincided with the first appearance of round goby in the diet in 2003. Gobies were absent in the diet until 2000-2005 when their frequency of occurrence was 1% of the diet. By 2006-2013, the frequency of gobies reached 9.4%. In Big Bay de Noc, gobies rose significantly in the diet; being absent until 2005 and then reaching 3.9% occurrence in 2005 and 4.9% occurrence in 2006-2014. Overall, these changes in the diet mirrored changes across all of Lake Michigan where forage fish have been decreasing and round gobies have been increasing. These changes in the lake may be attributed to altered food web dynamics brought on by the invasion of dreissenid mussels.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Freshwater Fish, Ecology, Great Lakes, Statistics
Reassessment of Iowa Darter Habitat in Illinois
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Andrew J. Stites*, Illinois Natural History Survey; Joshua L. Sherwood*, Illinois Natural History Survey; Jeremy S. Tiemann, Illinois Natural History Survey; Michael J. Dreslik, Illinois Natural History Survey
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The Iowa darter Etheostoma exile is a state-threatened fish species inhabiting a limited range in northern Illinois. Historical surveys (from 1901-1995) found Iowa darters at only 40 sites, with 19 sites being from glacial lakes near the Wisconsin border leading to the conclusion they primarily inhabited glacial lakes. Recent surveys (since 1995) have found E. exile at 37 sites, with only 13 of those sites being from glacial lakes. Many of the recent surveys have focused on headwater streams that have had limited to no previous records of fish sampling. The combined findings illustrate the need to evaluate whether populations of Iowa darters routinely inhabit the headwater streams of northern Illinois. Using the recent collection locations, species distribution models were created to guide future sampling in streams potentially having E. exile populations. Models indicated many of the potential locations for E. exile are headwater streams with no previous history of fish community sampling. This might be because small streams having predications for occurrence are not routinely sampled by natural resource agencies. With the information we have provided, targeted surveys in areas of high predicted probability will afford assessing the frequency which E. exile occupy headwater streams in northern Illinois and determining their local habitat needs.
Tags: Ecology, Freshwater Fish, Habitat, River/Stream, Threatened and Endangered Species
Growth Compensation and Size-Group Interaction in Hatchery-Raised Acipenser Fulvescens
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Joseph Susco, Northern Michigan University; Jill Leonard, Northern Michigan University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: When reared in captivity, juvenile Acipenser fulvescens develop a highly variable size distribution, even among full siblings. Research has shown that smaller sturgeon have a reduced probability of survival following stocking. As a result, it would be beneficial to the sturgeon stocking program to increase the growth rate of the smaller individuals in order to increase overall survivorship. Full-sibling lake sturgeon were hatched and raised in captivity and subsequently separated by size into three groups (<70mm, 70-89mm, 90+mm). Groups were raised in tank systems at the same initial biomass density to determine whether the smallest individuals would exhibit compensatory growth in weight or length to achieve sizes similar to their initially larger siblings.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Fisheries Techniques, Threatened and Endangered Species, Restoration/Enhancement
Assessment of a Freshwater Mussel Community and Short Distance Translocation in Northern Illinois
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Jeremy S. Tiemann, Illinois Natural History Survey; Sarah J. Baker, Illinois Natural History Survey; Sarah A. Douglass, Illinois Natural History Survey; Christopher A. Phillips, Illinois Natural History Survey; and Michael J. Dreslik, Illinois Natural History Survey
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Freshwater mussels have undergone dramatic population declines due, in large part, to habitat alteration. To mitigate the effects of anthropogenic habitat disturbance on mussels, short distance translocations of individuals are commonly used. However, few studies have quantified the success of translocations with sufficient post-translocation monitoring. Prior to the reconstruction of a bridge over the Kishwaukee River (Rock River – Mississippi River drainage) in northern Illinois, we evaluated the mussel community adjacent to the impacted reach and began to determine the efficiency of short distance translocations as a mitigation tool for threatened and endangered species. Using tactile surveys, we found the mussel community at the site consisted of 15 species. The community was dominated by two common species, Actinonaias ligamentina and Lampsilis cardium, but also had one state-threatened species, Ligumia recta, present. We used the two common species as a proxy for the co-occurring state-threatened species, and examined apparent survival rates following a short distance translocation. In May 2013, we marked 58 A. ligamentina and 42 L. cardium with passive integrated transponder (PIT) tags and released them ~200 m upstream of the construction site. The animals were then monitored monthly from May through October of 2013-2015. We used Cormack-Jolly-Seber models to estimate warm season apparent survival rates. Our data suggests apparent survival is lowest the first month after translocation and stabilizes thereafter but varies by species. Our study indicates short distance translocation is a viable tool for species conservation but will not eliminate all mortality from anthropogenic habitat disturbances.
Tags: River/Stream, Threatened and Endangered Species, Fisheries Techniques, Management, Invertebrate
Diet Analysis of Flathead Catfish in the Lower Channelized Missouri River Bordering Nebraska
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Dylan Turner*, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Dr. Mark Pegg, University of Nebraska - Lincoln; Dr. Martin Hamel, University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Flathead catfish Pylodictis olivaris are often considered apex predators where they exist. Within the Missouri River, little is known concerning the relative influence of flathead catfish predation on game fish and species of conservation concern. River regulation (i.e., channelization, revetment, dam releases, and rock jetties) within the Missouri River has likely increased the amount of suitable habitat available for flathead catfish. To determine the impact flathead catfish have on other species within this system, we posed two research questions: 1) what is the diet composition of flathead catfish within the lower channelized segment of the Missouri River bordering Nebraska, and 2) is there a difference in stomach fullness of flathead catfish among different seasons? We used pulsed gastric lavage on flathead catfish within a 20 km stretch of the lower channelized Missouri River near Indian Cave State Park, Nebraska. We split sampling effort into three distinct seasons; May-June (spring), July-August (summer), and September-October (fall). Diet samples from 681 flathead catfish showed 495 individuals had food items present in their stomachs. The three most common food items were Ictaluridae spp., Astacoidea spp., and various macroinvertebrates. Acipenseridae spp. were documented in two stomach samples. Ultimately, this research will help us gain a better understanding of the role flathead catfish play in the Missouri River food web, and whether or not they are posing a threat to sport fishes and species of conservation concern.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Management, River/Stream
Effects of Alternative Foods On Body Size and Survival of Larval Lake Sturgeon
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Shaley A. Valentine*, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; John M. Bauman, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Kim T. Scribner, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University and Department of Zoology, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: In aquaculture, offering live food such as Artemia spp. is associated with greater larval rearing success; however, labor and resource costs are comparatively high. In a five week study at the Black River Streamside Hatchery, the effects of potentially cost-effective alternative food types on body size and survival of larval lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens were determined. Live Artemia was fed as a control and two alternate food types were utilized: frozen Artemia (FA) and trout crumble starter diet (TD). At the onset of exogenous feeding, live Artemia was fed for two weeks, followed by a week-long transition to FA or TD, ending with two weeks of continuous FA or TD feeding. Significant treatment effects on total length (TL; mm), weight per fish (g), and proportional survival were documented. Mean (±SE) TL was significantly greater among control fish (54.8 ±0.61) compared to those fed FA (41.8 ±0.03) or TD (48.0 ±0.57; P < 0.0001). In addition, mean weight per fish was significantly greater among control fish (0.59 ±0.01) compared to those fed FA (0.21 ±0.00), or TD (0.31 ±0.01; P < 0.0001). Mean proportional survival of control fish (0.98 ±0.02) and fish fed FA (0.98 ±0.02) were significantly higher compared to those fed TD (0.19 ±0.05; P = 0.023). Results suggest larval lake sturgeon did not transition to TD or FA during the first few weeks after initiation of exogenous feeding. Additional transition studies are needed using alternate food types to identify more cost effective, less labor intensive food types.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Threatened and Endangered Species
Benthic Macroinvertebrates Affect Lake Sturgeon Acipenser Fulvescens Eggs and Free Embryos
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Ryan Walquist, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; John Bauman Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University; Kim Scribner, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife & Department of Integrative Biology, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: There is considerable overlap in lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens spawning habitats and the distribution of benthic macroinvertebrates, suggesting that species interactions may be common. However, documentation of ways in which macroinvertebrate functional feeding guilds may influence survival, growth, and ultimately recruitment of lake sturgeon is limited. In this study, lake sturgeon eggs were fertilized (one family) and incubated separately in one of five experimental treatment groups to quantify the effects of macroinvertebrates on egg size and days to 100% hatch. In addition, body size (total length and yolk-sac area) and proportional survival of free embryos at hatch were quantified. Experimental treatment groups included predators (Perlidae), facultative-scrapers (Heptageniidae), obligate-scrapers (Helicopsychidae), collector-filterers (Isonychiidae), and a control. Mean egg size was significantly smaller (3.42 ±0.04) and days to hatch was significantly less (5.3 ±0.3) after exposure to the predator stonefly compared to the control treatments (3.72 ±0.06; 6.8 ±0.3, respectively). Mean total length (12.72 ±0.17) and mean yolk sac area (7.69 ±0.12) at hatch in the control treatment were significantly greater than the predator treatment (11.33 ±0.15; 6.99 ±0.06, respectively). Proportional survival at hatch did not differ significantly by treatment. However, mean survival of eggs incubated in the presence of a predator (0.27 ±0.1) was lower than those incubated in the control treatment (0.53 ±0.11). Macroinvertebrate presence in lake sturgeon spawning areas should be considered a significant biotic factor influencing recruitment due to their effects on egg size and the days to hatch, total length, and yolk sac area of the free embryos.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes, Threatened and Endangered Species
Predation of Larval Lake Sturgeon By Piscine Predators in The Black River, Michigan
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Justin Waraniak*, Michigan State University; Kim Scribner, Michigan State University; Nicholas Gezon, Michigan State University; Ed Baker, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Mortality in larval fishes can be a significant factor to population levels of recruitment, especially in species with high early life stage mortality like lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens. However, the role predation plays in larval mortality is not well known. We investigated predation of larval sturgeon through field surveys that focused on estimating larval loss and by quantifying the composition of potential predator communities. Drift nets were deployed at ~500 m intervals to enumerate larval abundance and loss for ten nights. Electrofishing surveys were conducted during the day following larval sampling events between the drift sites. Laboratory studies were conducted to examine the vulnerability of larval fish to 20 species of piscine predators present in the Black River. Sturgeon, white sucker Catostomus commersoni, and silver redhorse Moxostoma anisurum larvae were introduced to potential predators in small tanks or an artificial flowing stream. Photographs were taken before and after trials to determine the number of larvae consumed as well as any size-selective predation. Preliminary results suggest several commonly occurring species, including rock bass Amblopites rupestris, pumpkinseed Lepomis microlophus, and hornyhead chub Nocomis biguttatus, have a strong preference for sturgeon larvae. This combination of field and laboratory studies allows us to relate the abundance of known larval sturgeon predators to larval loss, and suggests that predation by adult and juvenile fish may be an important source of mortality for larval sturgeon.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Ecology, River/Stream, Invertebrate
Ecological Effects of Non-Native Pacific Salmon and Brown Trout On Native Brook Trout in Great Lakes Tributaries
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Nick Weber*, University of Notre Dame; Brandon Gerig, University of Notre Dame; Lillian McGill, University of Notre Dame; Dominic Chaloner, University of Notre Dame; Gary Lamberti, University of Notre Dame
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Pacific salmon Oncoryhnchus spp. and brown trout Salmo trutta are non-native fishes actively stocked in the Great Lakes. Since the introduction of these species, the abundance of native brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis has declined in tributary streams for unknown reasons. Potamodromous species, like salmon, accumulate nutrients and energy while maturing in lakes, and transfer this material to lake tributaries where they spawn. Within the native range of salmon, these resources can increase resident salmonid growth, but influences outside their native range are uncertain. We explored whether availability of salmon tissue had a differential effect on growth rates of co-occurring brook and brown trout. Hatchery age-0 brook and brown trout were reared for 7 weeks in flow-through mesocosms with a regular ration of salmon tissue augmented by bloodworms, or bloodworms only with equivalent mass. Fish mass and length were measured weekly, from which Fulton’s Condition Factor was calculated. Growth rates and condition factor of brook trout were not altered by provision of salmon tissue, or by the presence of brown trout (ANOVA, p>0.05). Growth rates of brook trout were significantly higher than brown trout (ANOVA, p<0.001), possibly due to cool water temperatures (11.0±1.8°C), but no differences were found in condition factor (ANOVA, p>0.05). Our results suggest that salmon material may equally benefit both native brook trout and introduced brown trout, and that energetic benefits of salmon tissue are similar to those of invertebrate prey. Thus, salmon subsidies that also benefit brown trout may negate any potential positive effects on brook trout. Our results have implications for the influence of introduced salmon on stream-resident fish, the role of the environment in modifying those effects, and interactions between non-native and native fish species in Great Lakes tributaries.
Tags: Ecology, Great Lakes, Exotic/Invasive Species, Freshwater Fish, River/Stream
Brook Trout Movement, Behavioral Thermoregulation, and Habitat Use in a Disturbed Michigan Stream System
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Justin Wegner*, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University; Graeme Zaparzynski, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University; Mark Luttenton, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Successful improvement of in-stream trout habitat requires an understanding of stream physical characteristics and the seasonal habitat requirements, movement patterns, and habitat use of the targeted trout species. Using radio telemetry, we tracked 12 brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis in Cedar Creek, MI from June 6 through September 28th, 2015 to determine movement, thermoregulatory behavior and habitat use. Water temperatures throughout the study reach often exceeded 16°C, the upper end of the ideal water temperature range for brook trout. When ambient water temperatures were less than 18°C, brook trout body temperatures were generally slightly cooler than ambient water temperatures, and when ambient temperatures were greater than 18°C body temperatures were generally warmer. Additionally, brook trout captured in an upstream section of the study area all moved downstream from their capture locations over the course of the study. Downstream migration of fish from the upstream reach and differences between body temperatures and ambient water temperatures may be related to the availability of thermal refugia such as groundwater seeps, and coldwater tributaries, and the condition of the surrounding riparian zone.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Habitat, Restoration/Enhancement, Behavior, Management
Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Explorer – A Great Lakes Decision Support Tool
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Ben Schoenfeldt*, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment; Catherine Riseng, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment; Robert Goodspeed, University of Michigan, Taubman School of Architecture and Urban Planning; Kevin Wehrly, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Institute for Fisheries Research; Lacey Mason, University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment; Lizhu Wang, International Joint Commission; Edward Rutherford, NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Laboratory; Mike Robertson, Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: The Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Explorer is a web-based, publicly accessible geospatial map viewer and decision support tool. Leveraging data harmonized by the Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Framework we created an online decision support system that aids managers and planners in decisions making about management and restoration of Great Lakes’ aquatic resources. The map viewer allows users to explore the GLAHF spatial framework and Great Lakes Hydrography Dataset and view the most comprehensive geospatial data in the Great Lakes Basin including substrate, bathymetry, water temperature, land use/cover, shoreline classifications, and many other datasets. For users interested in interacting with the data, the decision support tool allows users to select criteria to locate specific aquatic habitat conditions. Users also have the ability to notate, draw, and measure to create their own markup which can be saved and accessed at a later time. These tools were developed by a collaborative, multidisciplinary research team, which engaged representative end users from beginning to end in the development process. Through in-person design workshops and user surveys we have engaged users and tailored a product specific to their needs. With only an internet connection and web browser any user, at any skill level, can explore aquatic habitat data in the Great Lakes.
Tags: Great Lakes, Technology/Geographic Information Systems, Landscape Ecology, Management, Outreach/Communication
Out of Breath: Hypoxia and Its Effects On Fish Species Composition and Abundance In The Bottom Waters of Muskegon Lake, Michigan, With Lake-Wide Implications
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Anthony D. Weinke, GVSU-AWRI; Carl R. Ruetz III, GVSU-AWRI; Dirk J. Koopmans, GVSU-AWRI; Bopi A. Biddanda, GVSU-AWRI
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The occurrence of bottom water hypoxia in lakes and estuaries around the world is increasing as a by-product of climate change and eutrophication. Muskegon Lake, Michigan, is a mesotrophic drowned-rivermouth estuary on Lake Michigan’s east coast that experiences hypoxia annually during summer. To evaluate dynamics of hypoxia and how it affects the composition of fishes in the hypolimnion, we set experimental gill-nets at one site (depth ~12m), and documented chemical, physical, and biological changes in 4 sub-basins on a bi-weekly basis from May to October 2015. Vertical dissolved oxygen (DO) profiles revealed that mild hypoxia (DO<4 mgL-1) and severe hypoxia (DO<2 mg-1) were detected in at least one basin during each sampling from June to September, but basins did not experience consistent levels of hypoxia throughout the season. The dynamics of hypoxia likely played a role in shaping fish habitat, decreasing abundance and species richness of fish captured in the hypolimnion. For instance, we captured 35 fish representing 5 species in two gill nets (set time=3 hrs) during pre-hypoxic sampling but did not capture any fish with similar sampling effort during peak hypoxia. Yellow perch Perca flavescens was the most abundant species in the catch during hypoxia, suggesting it had the highest tolerance to low-oxygen conditions among the species captured. Once hypoxia was detected at the site, only yellow perch were caught; however, following two mixing events where less than half of the net was submerged in hypoxic water, species other than yellow perch were caught. Given many fish have difficulty surviving in hypoxic waters, they may be forced to move to shallower habitats near the shore or into the epilimnion. Either move could be costly if they are losing a deeper preferred habitat, and are not adapted to surviving in warmer shallow habitats during the summer.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Habitat, Inland Lake/Reservoir, Behavior, Ecology
Changes in Stream Biota and Habitat Following A Perched Culvert Replacement in John’s Creek, MI
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Austin Wenke*, Lake Superior State University School of Biological Sciences; Emily Clegg, The Nature Conservancy; Ashley Moerke, Lake Superior State University School of Biological Sciences
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Michigan has over 36,000 miles of streams with thousands of road-stream crossings traversing them. However, many of these road-stream crossings consist of improperly installed culverts that act as barriers and are impassable to fish. The Two Hearted River watershed, MI, is an example of a watershed with a loss of connectivity. The Nature Conservancy recently led an effort to replace 13 barrier crossings to restore connectivity to 35 river miles in the Two Hearted River Watershed. One such replacement was a perched culvert at the CCI (Burma) Road and John’s Creek. The goal was to restore connectivity by replacing the poorly functioning culvert with a bridge. To evaluate the effectiveness of the culvert replacement, stream habitat, and fish and macroinvertebrate assemblages were evaluated before (July 2014) and after culvert (November 2014) replacement. Two 100-m reaches were identified, one above, and one below the crossing and sampled for fish using triple-pass backpack electrofishing. Fishes in each reach were marked with a unique fin clip to identify movement between reaches. Replicate macroinvertebrate samples were collected in each reach using a surber sampler, and identified to family level. Course woody debris, substrate, and water quality (e.g., DO, temperature) were also measured. Prior to the culvert replacement, fish assemblages were only comprised of stream residents upstream, but also possessed YOY anadromous fishes downstream. Macroinvertebrate richness was low, and habitat was dominated by sand substrate. After culvert replacement, fish assemblages included resident and anadromous fish both upstream and downstream. Additionally, fish with a downstream fin clip were found upstream of the crossing, indicating movement across the road-stream crossing. Local macroinvertebrate richness also increased in both reaches after culvert replacement. The results of this study indicate that The Nature Conservancy’s goal was met and fish now have access to the Two Hearted River watershed.
Tags: River/Stream, Restoration/Enhancement
Ichthyoplankton Surveys of The Detroit River: A Synthesis of Recent Studies
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Paige Wigren, USGS, Great Lakes Science Center and Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Purdue University; Robin DeBruyne, USGS and Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo; Jeremy Pritt, Ohio Division of Wildlife; Mark DuFour, Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo; Edward Roseman, USGS Great Lakes Science Center
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: To measure larval fish production and migration, the USGS Great Lakes Science Center has conducted ichthyoplankton sampling in the Detroit River since 2004 and the St. Clair River since 2009. Results of these efforts have aided in the management of fisheries resources within the St. Clair-Detroit River System. Roseman et al. (2007, 2012) quantified the spatial extent and magnitude of lake whitefish Coregonus clupeaformis larval production in the Detroit River. Pritt et al. (2014) demonstrated that accounting for imperfect larval detection in abundance indices can be used in developing a sampling plan for larval fishes in order to facilitate conservation and management decisions. Roseman (2014) described the feeding ecology and transport of larval deepwater sculpin Myoxocephalus thompsonii in the corridor and discussed their potential for recovery in the lower Great Lakes. DuFour et al. (2015) demonstrated that the Lake Erie walleye Sander vitreus population is composed of discrete spawning subpopulations that can be managed to increase stability and resilience of this multi-stock population. Lastly, McCullough et al. (2015) examined the transport and feeding ecology of burbot Lota lota and concluded that these rivers provide ample food resources, vital nursery habitat and a migration corridor between the upper and lower Great Lakes. These studies highlight the value of long-term survey data by comparing larval fish communities and river ecology across varied time scales and providing evidence of habitat and water quality improvements.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, Fishing, Freshwater Fish, Population Dynamics
Tracking Sea Lamprey Movement Through Analysis of Didson Sonar Imaging
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Emmaleigh Wilson*, Central Michigan University; Erin McCann, Central Michigan University; Peter Hrodey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Nicholas Johnson, USGS, Great Lakes Science Center; Samantha Nellis, USGS, Great Lakes Science Center; Kevin Pangle, Central Michigan University; Jesse Eickholt, Central Michigan University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Sea lamprey Petromyzon marinus are parasitic jawless fish that have invaded throughout the Great Lakes and are detrimental to many valuable Great Lakes fisheries. Control measures used to reduce sea lamprey populations (e.g., physical barriers, chemical lampricides) focus on tributaries where the species reproduces and spends its larval life stage. To better assess sea lamprey tributary use and migratory patterns, we developed and tested a new monitoring approach that is based on dual-frequency identification sonar (DIDSON). In 2013 and 2014, DIDSON instruments were installed in the Cheboygan and Ocqueoc Rivers where they collected sonar imagery continuously during the adult sea lamprey migratory period (April-July). Some sea lampreys were tagged with passive-integrated transponders, released downstream of the DIDSON, and then detected as they passed the viewing area, providing us with known-lamprey targets. Because it is not feasible to manually watch the hundreds of hours of sonar imagery to count the lamprey, we instead developed a program written in Python utilizing open source code found in OpenCV that analyzes the sonar video frame-by-frame and detects the movement of lamprey. By applying masks to reduce noise, we located where movement occurs within the frame; tracking this movement over several consecutive frames gave us a window where we could determine if the moving object was likely a fish. Our known targets were then fed into a machine learning program where we classified the fish as a lamprey or a different species. Our results indicate that DIDSON can be used to detect adult sea lamprey in Great Lakes tributaries. This type of information can likely complement and strengthen ongoing control efforts by providing an additional, independent means of estimating sea lamprey abundance and movement.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes, River/Stream, Technology/Geographic Information Systems
Blue Catfish Ictalurus Furcatus Hatch Timing in the Middle Mississippi River
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Michael C. Wolf*, Southeast Missouri State University; Quinton E. Phelps, Missouri Department of Conservation
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Catfish are the most sought after sport fish in the Middle Mississippi River. Blue catfish Ictalurus furcatus are the largest of the catfishes in the United States. While adult blue catfish are studied relatively consistently in this reach, little attention is given to early-life history. Year class strength is often intimately tied to early life survival. Therefore, understanding factors influencing, early-life history is vital to management. Young-of-the-year blue catfish were captured via benthic trawling from May to September 2015 at six sites between pool 19 of the Mississippi River at Keokuk, IA downstream to the confluence with the Ohio River at Cairo, IL. Each site consisted of 16 trawling runs and was sampled once every two weeks. Blue catfish were measured in five mm groups and a sub sample were randomly selected for age analyses. Lapilli otoliths were removed and mounted onto a microscope slide and aged with a compound microscope (20x). Estimating hatch date will allow us to determine the abiotic conditions that initiate spawning activity. For example 516 blue catfish were captured in two sampling efforts (7/8/15 and 7/21/15) at Marquette Island near Cape Girardeau, Missouri. The majority of these fish (265) were estimated to have hatched on July 1st which was approximately one week after a large flood pulse. Thus large flood pulses could trigger spawning activity. Understanding how these flood pulses influence catfish recruitment could be vital information to managers of this highly sought after sportfish.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, River/Stream, Management
Quantifying The Selectivity of Brook Trout Toward Available Prey Items in a Small Michigan Stream
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Graeme Zaparzynski; Justin Wegner; Mark Luttenton, Annis Water Resources Institute, Grand Valley State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Understanding foraging patterns of a top predator can provide important information about ecological processes occurring inside a food web and allow for a better understanding of the growth and bioenergetics of the predatory species. In the case of brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, a primarily insectivorous, cold-water ectotherm, diet analysis plays an important role in bioenergetic models used to estimate consumption and predict growth. Examining brook trout may help predict the bioenergetic consequences to brook trout that could occur with changes in surface water temperature, particularly in systems that reach temperatures near the upper limit ideal for brook trout growth. To examine the diet of brook trout, gastric lavage was used to extract the stomach contents from live fish during June, July, and August of 2015 in Cedar Creek, a tributary of the Rogue River, Michigan. Drift and benthic macroinvertebrate samples were taken from the stream during each day of diet sampling to examine the selectivity of brook trout toward available prey items using Ivlev’s Electivity Index. Results suggest that brook trout feed on a wide variety of both adult and larval aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates and exhibit varying degrees of selectivity.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, River/Stream, Invertebrate
Comparison of Surface and Benthic Slednets
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Chelsea Zblewski*, Undergraduate Student; Nathan Lederman, Graduate Assistant; Shannon J. Fisher,Director and Professor Water Resource Center, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The Minnesota River has been degraded by habitat alterations, invasive species, and runoff from industrial and agriculture sources. Assessing degradation can be difficult; however macroinvertebrates can help index riverine system conditions. An abundance of pollutant-tolerant macroinvertebrates tends to be an indication of degraded habitats. Therefore, monitoring macroinvertebrates can help determine the levels of impairments present in riverine ecosystems. Common methods to capture macroinvertebrates are tow nets, surber sampler, kick nets, and Hester-Dendy samplers; surface and benthic slednets were identified as the best potential gear for the physical characteristics of a deep and fast flowing system such as the Minnesota River. How benthic and surface slednets catches comparisons are unknown to us. Therefore, we assessed macroinvertebrates captured between the two sled net strategies. Data will provide insight about the performance of these gears for sampling macroinvertebrates in the Minnesota River. As long-term sampling, will help improve efficiency and data value. We believe more individual macroinvertebrates and more macroinvertebrate taxa will be captured in the surface slednet samples because there appears to be more algae and other food resources at the surface during the time of sampling. Data collected so far have shown several families of Diptera, Ephemeroptera, and Hemiptera are commonly captured using surface sled net. These will also be useful in furthering our understanding of the quality of the Minnesota River water, and the role macroinvertebrates play in the functionality of the system.
Tags: Fisheries Techniques, River/Stream, Invertebrate, Survey Methods
Rivermouth Areas As Biological Hotspots in Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior
Topic: General - Fisheries
Authors: Frank Zomer*, Bay Mills Indian Community; Ashley Moerke, Lake Superior State University; Kevin Kapuscinski, Lake Superior State University; Paul Ripple, Bay Mills Indian Community
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Lake Superior receives water from more than 800 tributaries, the majority of which are low-order streams. In an oligotrophic system such as Lake Superior, tributary inputs may create zones of increased productivity in rivermouth areas. The objective of this study was to compare use of rivermouths by larval, sub-adult, and adult fish to use of nearshore areas that lack a tributary input. Two rivermouths and two non-rivermouth sites were sampled during the summer of 2014 for larval and sub-adult fishes. Larval fishes were sampled from May to June using a 500 µm-mesh beach seine. Sub-adult and adult fishes were sampled from June to August with a 1 cm-mesh beach seine. Replicate seine hauls (three for larval fish and two for sub-adult and small-bodied adult fish) were completed on both sides of two rivermouths as well as two paired, non-rivermouth sites. Lake whitefish and suckers Catostomus spp. were the dominant larval species at all sites during May and June. More sub-adult and adult fish were caught in beach seines at rivermouth sites than at non-rivermouth sites. Spatial differences in fish species at rivermouth sites and non-rivermouth sites will also be discussed. The results of this study will be useful in highlighting the influence of tributaries on dynamics of nearshore fish communities in Lake Superior.
Tags: Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes, River/Stream
Symposium - Miscellaneous
Painted Turtle Chrysemys Picta, Wood Turtle Glyptemys Insculpta, and Snapping Turtle Chelydra Serpentine Nest-Site Selection in Central Michigan
Topic: Symposium - Wood Turtle  Research and Management
Authors: Nickolas A. Steer*, Kaylee A. Renstrom*; Kerri M. Carlson - Department of Biology, University of St Thomas; Kimberly A. Piccolo, US Forest Service; Timothy L. Lewis, Department of Biology, University of St Thomas
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: While populations of painted turtles Chrysemys picta are often robust, wood turtles Glyptemys insculpta and snapping turtles Chelydra serpentine are each in decline due primarily to habitat loss and degradation. Nest predation severely limits recruitment in each species. Characterization of turtle nesting sites is important for the identification of critical habitat, especially on streams where management for other resources, such as important fisheries, might require different habitats from turtles. From May 2014 through August 2015 we searched riparian corridors situated in central Michigan known to have these three types of turtles. We located as well as described new and predated turtle nests (n=56). We recorded nest elevation, soil composition, slope, and distance from water. Eggshell fragments were collected from nests and tested using DNA isolation techniques to determine species. Results show that turtles exhibited a nest-site preference for sand or gravel and sand substrate with typically less than 10% gravel. Turtle nest-site slope displayed a normal distribution with a mean of 24 degrees (45 % slope). Sixteen percent of the nests were low on the river edge, a third were located at the top of the stream bank, with the remainder scattered between. Two thirds of nests were 0-10 meters from the mean high water edge of the river with a lesser amount (25%) located between 10 and 20 meters. DNA sequencing showed half of the eggs shells were wood turtle and half snapping turtle. Further research will be conducted to collect new eggshell fragments and nest characteristics. DNA collected from the fragments will be examined and interpreted to characterize species nesting patterns.
Tags: Amphibian/Reptile, Threatened and Endangered Species, River/Stream
Behavioral Responses of Larval Lake Sturgeon To Odorant Cues
Topic: Symposium - Habitat and Population Restoration for Sturgeon and Paddlefish
Authors: Lydia Wassink, Michigan State University; Kim Scribner, Michigan State University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Environmental cues are known to influence the development of sensory perception and thus affect behavior. Larval fish have been shown to respond to olfactory cues from live predators and dead conspecifics, but ontogenetic changes in perception abilities, in behavioral responses expressed, at and subsequent to initial exposure to live predators have not previously been studied in larval lake sturgeon Acipenser fulvescens. Larval sturgeon of various ages raised at the Black River stream-side hatchery in Onaway, Michigan were exposed to odorant from live potential predators or dead conspecifics. Several predators were used including crayfish, burbot, rock bass, and northern pike, all common year-round predators in the streams occupied by lake sturgeon. The time taken to traverse the entire raceway length away from the potential predator was used as the response variable. A control set of individuals was timed without exposure to the same odorant. Predator diet was examined as a variable to determine if predators that had been feeding on sturgeon larvae produced a more intense avoidance response in larval sturgeon. Results suggest that larval sturgeon between 20 and 30 days of age responded to odorant cues and distinguished sturgeon odor from that of other fish species, both in putrefying flesh and in predator diets. In addition, pre-emergence larvae (<10 days post hatch) may lack the sensory development to perceive and respond to these odorants. Since predator diet affects avoidance response of larvae, development of this behavior may be influenced by environmental factors such as community composition.
Tags: Behavior, Freshwater Fish, Ecology
Examining The Responses of Common Carp To Potential Behavioral Barrier Stimuli
Topic: Symposium - Management of Invasive Species
Authors: Paul Bzonek*, University of Toronto Scarborough; Jaewoo Kim, Fisheries and Oceans Canada; Nicholas E. Mandrak, University of Toronto Scarborough
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Major efforts have been undertaken to prevent the introduction and establishment of invasive Asian carps into the Great Lakes. The most likely pathway of Asian carp invasions is through dispersal, which requires passage across geographic bottlenecks such as canals. Non-permanent, behavioral barriers have been proposed as inexpensive means to restrict carp expansion past these bottlenecks while maintaining water flow and anthropogenic transport. However, little research has investigated the behavioral responses of carps to visual and acoustic behavioral barriers, especially in controlled settings. Our research examines the common carp Cyprinus carpio behavioral responses to visual and acoustic stimuli that may be integrated into non-permanent behavioral barriers. Video recorded wetlab trials were used to observe common carp movement, activity, shoal cohesion, and spatial occupation within 3x1x1m tanks. Common carp (n=45) were arranged in groups of three to simulate shoaling and were exposed to visual, acoustic and control stimuli to observe behavioral responses. Individuals were identified between and within trials via external tags. Each stimulus trial was composed of a 30 min pre-stimulus, 30 min stimulus, and 30 min post-stimulus period. Visual stimuli were represented by underwater 360o random flashing strobe lights. The acoustic stimulus was constructed using a 50-1500Hz sweep, 50-1500Hz bandsweep, and a high quality recording of a marine engine, all of which were played through a single underwater speaker. This study will provide a detailed examination of how common carps respond to stimuli used in proposed visual and acoustic behavioral barriers to movement. These findings may be used to modify behavioral barrier design and inform policy decisions regarding the potential use of behavioral barriers against invasive species, such as Asian carps.
Tags: Behavior, Ecology, Exotic/Invasive Species, Management
Monitoring Adult Asian Carp Through Trammel Netting With Enhanced Capture Techniques
Topic: Symposium - Management of Invasive Species
Authors: Trevor Cyphers*, USFWS Carterville FWCO- Wilmington Substation; Rebecca N. Neeley, USFWS Carterville FWCO- Wilmington Substation; Samuel T. Finney, USFWS Carterville FWCO
Student or Professional: Professional
Abstract: Asian carps are highly invasive species that have been expanding their range in the U.S. due to rapid growth rates, short generation times, and dispersal capabilities. Of immediate concern is the threat that bighead and silver carp pose to the Great Lakes fishery. Large populations of bighead and silver carp reside in the lower and middle pools of the Illinois River, posing a potential threat to invade the Great Lakes. The upper Illinois River (Waterway) and the Chicago Area Waterway System (CAWS) are currently being intensively monitored for adult fish in order to better manage these populations and the risk of invasion. Monitoring effort has included using traditional gears (gill netting, electrofishing, hoop nets, pound nets, etc.) by federal and state agencies. This project was established to aid the current effort and potentially increase the probability of detecting Asian carp in the pools closest to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Electrical Dispersal Barriers. Traditional trammel and gill nets were used in conjunction with additional practices to potentially increase catch rates of Asian carp. These practices included moving fish into nets through non-directional sound (banging on the boat), electrofishing and directional sound (mounted underwater speakers). Techniques were initially tested in pools of the Illinois River that have abundant numbers of Asian carp (Starved Rock and Marseilles pools) to determine which technique(s) garnered the highest catch rates. Upon determining the most efficient technique, trammel and gill nets were deployed in Dresden Island, Brandon Road and Lockport pools. Native fish were enumerated and released. Asian carp collected were measured for length (mm) and weight (kg), sexed and lapilli otoliths were taken for aging and to analyze microchemistry. This project will aid in understanding the current extent of the adult Asian carp population within the Illinois River Basin
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Fisheries Techniques, River/Stream, Great Lakes
Evidence of Grass Carp Spawning in a Lake Erie Tributary
Topic: Symposium - Management of Invasive Species
Authors: Holly S. Embke*, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Patrick Kocovsky, U.S. Geological Survey, Great Lakes Science Center; Christine M. Mayer, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Song S. Qian, University of Toledo, Lake Erie Center; Catherine A. Richter, U.S. Geological Survey, Columbia Environmental Research Center
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Grass carp Ctenopharyngodon idella, an invasive species of Asian carp, have been stocked for many decades for vegetation control. Adult individuals have been found in all of the Great Lakes except Lake Superior, but no self-sustaining populations have yet been identified in Great Lakes tributaries. In 2012, a commercial fisherman caught four juvenile diploid grass carp in the Sandusky River, a major tributary to Lake Erie. Otolith evidence suggested that these fish were most likely produced in the Sandusky River. Therefore, we sampled ichthyoplankton using paired bongo net tows along multiple sites June through August of 2015 to determine if grass carp are spawning in the Sandusky River. The sites extended approximately 17 km, beginning downstream of Fremont, Ohio to the location where the juvenile fish had previously been captured. From the samples collected, we identified and staged eight eggs that were morphologically consistent with grass carp. Five eggs were confirmed as grass carp using quantitative PCR for a grass carp-specific marker, while the remaining three were retained for future analysis. Our finding confirms that grass carp are naturally spawning in this Great Lakes tributary. Eggs were found on three dates that followed heavy rain events by 1-3 days, supporting an earlier suggestion that flood conditions favor grass carp spawning. The next principal goal is to identify the recruitment potential for the Sandusky River based on this spawning information. Additionally, we will quantify conditions (e.g. temperature and flow) under which spawning is likely using a continuous Bayesian network modeling approach. Predicting locations and conditions where grass carp spawning is most probable may aid targeted efforts at control.
Tags: Ecology, Exotic/Invasive Species, Freshwater Fish, Great Lakes, River/Stream
Factors Associated With The Distribution and Abundance of Hemimysis Anomala in Lake Michigan
Topic: Symposium - Management of Invasive Species
Authors: Heather Kane*, Mael Glon, Dr. Kevin Pangle, Dr. Scott McNaught
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: The nearshore waters of the Laurentian Great Lakes have been affected greatly by many different invasive species. Dreissenid mussels (Dreissena polymorpha, D. bugensis rostriforms), have had a significant effect by diverting offshore energy to the nearshore by means of filter feeding. This nearshore shunt has facilitated the growth of nearshore organisms including invasive species such as round goby Neogobius melanostomus and rusty crayfish Orconectes rusticus. Another nonnative species is the Hemimysis anomala, or the bloody-red mysid in 2006. H. anomala is a crustacean originally from the Ponto-Caspian Sea that has made its way into four out of the five Great Lakes. Very few studies have been about H. anomala’s effect on the Great Lakes, but it has shown to have serious repercussions in European waterways by depleting local plankton levels. This often has a cascade effect on higher trophic levels. The goal of this project was to document the distribution and abundance of H. anomala in the nearshore waters of Lake Michigan. H. anomala and other invertebrates were sampled at eight nearshore locations around Lake Michigan in May, July and October 2015 using a 50 cm plankton net. Other measured parameters included date, time, depth, water temperature, and lunar cycle. These locations were selected in coordination with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and primarily because of their close proximity to large river heads. These river heads have various water quality issues that have also been observed. Preliminary results show that H. anomala densities vary tremendously by site and may be associated with river productivity.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Invertebrate, Great Lakes, Population Dynamics
Optimizing Trap Design For Capture of Amphipods in Western Lake Erie
Topic: Symposium - Management of Invasive Species
Authors: Eric Stadig*, Purdue University; Stephen R. Hensler, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Robert Gillespie, Purdue University; William DeMott, Purdue University
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Currently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is conducting an early detection monitoring program throughout the Laurentian Great Lakes focusing on new non-native fishes, crustaceans and mollusks. To improve the sampling efficiency of these agency survey efforts, we evaluated relative capture effectiveness of three amphipod trap designs set in four treatment configurations (bait; light; both bait and light; neither bait nor light)) in Maumee Bay of western Lake Erie. Two of the trap designs involved modifying Gee minnow traps by placing 243-micron mesh around them and one was constructed using polyvinyl chloride pipe. Preliminary results indicate that using light sources (100+ lumens) with modified Gee minnow traps can increase capture efficiency. These data may help researchers optimize efforts to collect amphipods in the Great Lakes and elsewhere.
Tags: Great Lakes, Invertebrate, Survey Methods, Exotic/Invasive Species
Clash of the Planktivores: Interactions Among Asian Carp and Paddlefish in the Mississippi River
Topic: Symposium - Management of Invasive Species
Authors: Michael C. Wolf*, Southeast Missouri State University; Quinton E. Phelps, Missouri Department of Conservation; Nicholas W. Kramer, Southeast Missouri State University; Sara J. Tripp, Missouri Department of Conservation
Student or Professional: Student
Abstract: Asian carp (i.e., bighead carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and silver carp H. molitrix) are an r-selected, highly migratory planktivorous invasive species that are rapidly expanding their range throughout the Mississippi River basin. Purported detrimental interactions exist, as it relates to resource overlap, among native fishes and Asian carp in the Mississippi River basin. Of the many native fishes that could be negatively influenced by Asian carp; we hypothesize that paddlefish Polyodon spathula, an obligate planktivore, will likely be one of the most sensitive species to the invasion. As such, the objective of our study was to investigate resource overlap of Asian carp and paddlefish in the Mississippi River. During 2013-2015 we conducted stratified-random sampling using hobbled 127-mm gillnets deployed in the upper, middle, and lower reaches of the Mississippi River. Regardless of river reach, Asian carp utilized similar locations to paddlefish indicating potential resource (e.g., food or space) overlap. Ultimately, our results suggest that potential negative interactions occur among Asian carp and paddlefish in the Mississippi River. We suggest future efforts should aim to control the Asian carp population (via commercial harvest) to reduce the negative impacts on paddlefish in the Mississippi River.
Tags: Exotic/Invasive Species, Freshwater Fish, River/Stream, Threatened and Endangered Species
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