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Alpena, MI, United States

Roseman E.F.,U.S. Geological Survey | Schaeffer J.S.,U.S. Geological Survey | Bright E.,U.S. Geological Survey | Bright E.,University of Michigan | Fielder D.G.,Fisheries Research Station Alpena
Transactions of the American Fisheries Society | Year: 2014

Examination of angler-caught piscivore stomachs revealed that Lake Trout Salvelinus namaycush, Chinook Salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, and Walleyes Sander vitreus altered their diets in response to unprecedented declines in Lake Huron's main-basin prey fish community. Diets varied by predator species, season, and location but were nearly always dominated numerically by some combination of Alewife Alosa pseudoharengus, Rainbow Smelt Osmerus mordax, Emerald Shiner Notropis atherinoides, Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus, or terrestrial insects. Rainbow Trout Oncorhynchus mykiss (steelhead), Coho Salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch, and Atlantic Salmon Salmo salar had varied diets that reflected higher contributions of insects. Compared with an earlier (1983–1986) examination of angler-caught predator fishes from Lake Huron, the contemporary results showed an increase in consumption of nontraditional prey (including conspecifics), use of smaller prey, and an increase in insects in the diet, suggesting that piscivores were faced with chronic prey limitation during this study. The management of all piscivores in Lake Huron will likely require consideration of the pervasive effects of changes in food webs, especially if prey fish remain at low levels.Received December 19, 2013; accepted June 30, 2014. © 2014, American Fisheries Society 2014.

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