Escanaba Lake Research Station

Boulder City, WI, United States

Escanaba Lake Research Station

Boulder City, WI, United States
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Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station | Rypel A.L.,Science Services | Stafford J.D.,University of Habana | Stafford J.D.,U.S. Geological Survey
Fisheries | Year: 2017

The habitat concept in inland fisheries has been less studied than wildlife ecology. Since 1950, the cumulative number of publications about “freshwater or inland habitat and fisheries management” has been 60%–95% less than those considering “habitat and wildlife management.” The number of publications about “marine, river, and stream habitat and fisheries management” has also generally exceeded those for “lake habitat and fisheries management.” We provide a perspective comparing inland fish and wildlife habitat management systems and highlight lessons from wildlife ecology that could benefit inland fisheries. We reason that wildlife habitat management has become widespread and accepted because humans share habitats with wildlife and positive/negative responses to habitat restorations/loss are directly observable. We recommend that inland fisheries habitat studies and restorations include opportunities for humans to directly observe the ecological benefits of such practices. To support aquatic habitat management efforts, we suggest that dedicated funding solutions be considered to mitigate aquatic habitat loss. In theory, such a system would provide benefits to inland fish populations that parallel those provided to wildlife through state and federal stamps. Although aquatic habitat conservation and restoration may not solve management issues as rapidly, it will promote long-term sustainability and resiliency of diverse inland fish populations. © 2017, American Fisheries Society.


Lamer J.T.,Urbana University | Lamer J.T.,Western Illinois University | Ruebush B.C.,University of Illinois at Springfield | Arbieva Z.H.,University of Illinois at Chicago | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2015

Hybridization among conspecifics in native and introduced habitats has important implications for biological invasions in new ecosystems. Bighead (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and silver carp (H. molitrix) are genetically isolated and occur in sympatry within their native range. Following their introduction to North America, however, introgressant hybrids have been reported throughout their expanded range within the Mississippi River Basin (MRB). The extent of introgression, both spatially and generationally, is largely unknown. Therefore, we examined mixed-species populations from across the MRB to characterize the extent of interspecific gene flow. We assayed 2798 individuals from nine locations with a suite of species-diagnostic SNPs (57 nuclear and one mitochondrial). Forty-four per cent (n = 1244) of individuals displayed hybrid genotypes. Moreover, the composition of hybrid genotypes varied among locations and represented complex hybrid swarms with multiple generations of gene flow. Introgressive hybrids were identified from all locations, were bidirectional and followed a bimodal distribution consisting primarily of parental or parental-like genotypes and phenotypes. All described hybrid categories were present among individuals from 1999 to 2008, with parents and later-generation backcrosses representing the largest proportion of individuals among years. Our mitochondrial SNP (COII), tested on a subset of 730 individuals, revealed a silver carp maternal bias in 13 of 21 (62%) F1 hybrids, in all silver carp backcrosses, and maintained throughout many of the bighead carp backcrosses. The application of this suite of diagnostic markers and the spatial coverage permits a deeper examination of the complexity in hybrid swarms between two invasive, introduced species. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


PubMed | Illinois Natural History Survey, Urbana University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Springfield and Escanaba Lake Research Station
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Molecular ecology | Year: 2015

Hybridization among conspecifics in native and introduced habitats has important implications for biological invasions in new ecosystems. Bighead (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and silver carp (H.molitrix) are genetically isolated and occur in sympatry within their native range. Following their introduction to North America, however, introgressant hybrids have been reported throughout their expanded range within the Mississippi River Basin (MRB). The extent of introgression, both spatially and generationally, is largely unknown. Therefore, we examined mixed-species populations from across the MRB to characterize the extent of interspecific gene flow. We assayed 2798 individuals from nine locations with a suite of species-diagnostic SNPs (57 nuclear and one mitochondrial). Forty-four per cent (n=1244) of individuals displayed hybrid genotypes. Moreover, the composition of hybrid genotypes varied among locations and represented complex hybrid swarms with multiple generations of gene flow. Introgressive hybrids were identified from all locations, were bidirectional and followed a bimodal distribution consisting primarily of parental or parental-like genotypes and phenotypes. All described hybrid categories were present among individuals from 1999 to 2008, with parents and later-generation backcrosses representing the largest proportion of individuals among years. Our mitochondrial SNP (COII), tested on a subset of 730 individuals, revealed a silver carp maternal bias in 13 of 21 (62%) F1 hybrids, in all silver carp backcrosses, and maintained throughout many of the bighead carp backcrosses. The application of this suite of diagnostic markers and the spatial coverage permits a deeper examination of the complexity in hybrid swarms between two invasive, introduced species.


McClell M.A.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Sass G.G.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station
Journal of Freshwater Ecology | Year: 2012

The fish assemblage of the Illinois River is monitored annually through a long-term electrofishing (LTEF) program. Through the LTEF program, fish species composition and abundances are examined in six navigation reaches using a fixed site sampling design. We added a series of random sites to the LTEF sampling program in 2005 and 2007 to supplement current monitoring efforts. We used random and fixed site samples to assess fish species richness, relative abundance, and species-specific contributions to catches. We collected 17,537 fish from both sampling designs. Total fish and mean catch per hour was greater for fixed sampling (10,221 and 379.1, respectively) compared to random sampling (7316 and 259.6, respectively). Total fish species richness was 70, with 63 and 62 species collected through fixed and random samplings, respectively. Fish species diversity and evenness was greater for fixed site sampling. Eight fish species were unique to the fixed site design with seven fish species unique to random sampling. Fish assemblage analyses showed that catches for each sampling design contained a similar base set of species. Our results suggest that the goals of specific long-term monitoring programs may dictate the sampling method to be used. Whereas fixed site sampling may be biased toward potentially more and a greater diversity of fishes, random site selection will be unbiased and may provide greater spatial coverage. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.


Liss S.A.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Lamer J.T.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station | Suski C.D.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign
Journal of Freshwater Ecology | Year: 2016

Hybridization can influence a range of characteristics and outcomes for an organism; however, relatively little is known about evolutionary consequences on nutritional performance. Information on hybrid nutritional performance would provide an understanding of how hybrids interact with their environment and insights into mechanisms affecting survival. Our goal was to test for relationships between hybridization and nutritional performance in invasive bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), and their hybrids in the Marseilles reach of the Illinois River, Illinois, USA. Silver carp showed better nutritional performance relative to bighead carp. Early generation bighead and silver carp hybrid groups were intermediate to both parental lines, thereby, reducing their nutritional performance, and advanced generation bighead and silver carp groups were nutritionally more similar to their respective parental species. Differences in gill raker morphology and feeding habits among bigheaded carps and their hybrids are plausible mechanisms explaining observed nutritional performance patterns. In addition to providing unique insights about how hybridization influences the nutritional performance of wild organisms relative to parentals, our findings may have management implications for bigheaded carps if interbreeding persists over time and reduced nutritional performance is further manifested by continued hybridization. © 2016 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group


Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station | Hinz C.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Erickson A.C.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | McClelland N.N.,Havana Field Office | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Great Lakes Research | Year: 2014

Aquatic invasive species introductions are a global environmental concern. Negative effects of invasive species are often manifested in alterations of food web structure and through competition with and predation upon native species. The Illinois River, Illinois, USA harbors invasive, planktivorous bighead, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, and silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, and can be a model ecosystem to test for their effects on zooplankton communities. We tested for bighead and silver carp effects on zooplankton communities pre- and post-establishment within one reach of the Illinois River and among river reaches that varied in abundances of these invasive fishes. The establishment of bighead and silver carp was associated with increased rotifer abundances, while cladoceran and copepod abundances were reduced relative to pre-establishment. Cladoceran and copepod abundance and biomass were negatively associated with bighead and silver carp abundances among reaches. Total zooplankton and rotifer abundance and biomass were positively associated with bighead and silver carp abundances. Our results suggest that bighead and silver carp have changed the zooplankton community of the Illinois River which may have implications for the food web, native species, and other ecosystems poised to be invaded, such as the Laurentian Great Lakes. © 2014 International Association for Great Lakes Research.


McClelland M.A.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | Sass G.G.,Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area | Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station | Cook T.R.,University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign | And 4 more authors.
Fisheries | Year: 2012

Long-term ecological monitoring is essential to gain an understanding of the interaction between spatial and temporal patterns and variability. The goals of our study were to test for trends in (1) overall fish catches; (2) native and nonnative fish species richness and relative abundance; and (3) the fish species assemblages over time using greater than 50 years of fish population data collected from the Illinois River. Fish species richness increased over time and community analyses revealed changes in fish species composition from a community dominated by common carp (Cyprinus carpio) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) to one of greater species diversity. Prior to 1976, abundances of native fish species were declining significantly but have since shown a significant increase. Abundances of nonnative species declined from 1957 to 2000; however, rapid population growth of Asian carps (Hypophthalmichthys spp.) in the Illinois River increased nonnative fish species catches. Many of the trends observed may reflect positive effects of rehabilitation efforts throughout the Illinois River. Our collections highlight the importance of long-term monitoring programs to detect temporal and spatial shifts in fish populations in the context of anthropogenic and natural change in aquatic ecosystems.


Lamer J.T.,Western Illinois University | Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station | Boone J.Q.,Floragenex Inc. | Arbieva Z.H.,University of Illinois at Chicago | And 2 more authors.
Molecular Ecology Resources | Year: 2014

Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis) and silver carp (H. molitrix) are invasive species and listed as US federally injurious species under the Lacy Act. They have established populations in much of the Mississippi River Basin (MRB; Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri rivers) and are capable of producing fertile hybrids and complex introgression. Characterizing the composition of this admixture requires a large set of high-quality, evolutionarily conserved, diagnostic genetic markers to aid in the identification and management of these species in the midst of morphological ambiguity. Restriction site-associated DNA (RAD) sequencing of 45 barcoded bighead and silver carp from the United States and China produced reads that were aligned to the silver carp transcriptome yielded 261 candidate single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with fixed allelic differences between the two species. We selected the highest quality 112 SNP loci for validation using 194 putative pure-species and F1 hybrids from the MRB and putative bighead carp and silver carp pure species from China (Amur, Pearl and Yangtze rivers). Fifty SNPs were omitted due to design/amplification failure or lack of diagnostic utility. A total of 57 species-diagnostic SNPs conserved between carp species in US and Chinese rivers were identified; 32 were annotated to functional gene loci. Twenty-seven of the 181 (15%) putative pure species were identified as hybrid backcrosses after validation, including three backcrosses from the Amur River, where hybridization has not been documented previously. The 57 SNPs identified through RAD sequencing provide a diagnostic tool to detect population admixture and to identify hybrid and pure-species Asian carps in the United States and China. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Gaeta J.W.,University of Wisconsin - Madison | Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station | Carpenter S.R.,University of Wisconsin - Madison
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2014

Research testing for the effects of climate change on lentic fishes has focused on changing thermal and dissolved oxygen regimes, but has often overlooked potential influences of altered lake levels on littoral habitat availability and species interactions. Natural littoral structures such as coarse woody habitat (CWH) can be critical to fishes for prey production, refuge, and spawning. Drought-driven lake level declines may strand these structures above the waterline and thereby remove them from littoral zones. A prolonged drought in northern Wisconsin, USA, allowed us to test for effects of lake level decline on CWH and the response of a fish community. During our study (2001-2009), the lake level of Little Rock Lake South declined over 1.1m and >75% of the previously submerged CWH was lost from the littoral zone. The loss of CWH coincided with the forage fish species (yellow perch, Perca flavescens) falling below detection and reduced growth of the top piscivore (largemouth bass, Micropterus salmoides). Our study highlights the importance of lake level fluctuations as a mechanism by which climate change may affect aquatic ecosystems and species interactions.


Tsehaye I.,Michigan State University | Tsehaye I.,United Road Services | Roth B.M.,Michigan State University | Sass G.G.,Escanaba Lake Research Station
Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences | Year: 2016

We assessed population dynamics of walleye (Sander vitreus) in multiple Ceded Territory lakes, which support recreational and tribal fisheries, using a hierarchical Bayesian age-structured model. We used distributions of parameter estimates to develop a dynamic simulation model to forecast performances of walleye fisheries across these lakes under alternative recreational and tribal fishing scenarios. Application of a hierarchical approach allowed us to obtain more accurate estimates of stock-recruitment relationships, natural mortality, maturity and selectivity schedules, and growth parameters for individual lakes, especially for those with relatively uninformative data, and to characterize their variability among lakes. Using standing spawning stock biomass, recreational and tribal harvest, and probability of population collapse as performance metrics, our simulations suggest that northern Wisconsin walleye populations can sustain a regional optimal exploitation rate of about 20% on average given the existing recreational and tribal gear selectivities. However, lake-specific optimal exploitation rates may be higher or lower depending on estimated lake productivities, suggesting that effective management of the Ceded Territory walleye fisheries should account for variability in population dynamics among lakes © 2016, Canadian Science Publishing. All rights reserved.

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